"This splendid book will be the indispensable source for everyone who wants to know about America's wildlife refuge system. But it is much more than just a reference work. It also thoughtfully explores the system's distinctive dominant use hierarchy approach to conservation management, and in so doing makes an important contribution to our contemporary environmental literature." (Joseph L. Sax University of California, Berkeley)
About the Author
Robert L. Fischman is Professor of Law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow at Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington. He has published widely on issues related to public land management, endangered species recovery, biological diversity protection, environmental impact analysis, and sustainable forestry. Before entering teaching, he served as Director of the Natural Resources Program at the Environmental Law Institute.
This book covers exactly what the title promises: it gives the reader a primarily law-based overview of the US National Wildlife Refuge System. It consists of three main parts: an overview of various wildlife issues in general, an in-depth discussion of 1997 Refuge Improvement Act, and applications of general principles to management issues in specific refuges. The central part of the book is the middle section on the 1997 Act. The third section on applications presented too-brief, capsule discussions of issues such as oil and gas exploration. It had the least connection to general issues and I found it less helpful than the first two parts.
The emphasis on law is useful but it leaves out natural questions. First, how well is the law followed? Fischman touches on this issue in many places, and admits that land managers often do not prioritize values as their legal mandates would have them do. Second, where does the law come from? Again, Fischman touches on this issue but does not give it the serious attention that it deserves. Finally, how well does the institution work in terms of its ultimate goals? Are we protecting the species that the national wildlife refuges are supposed to protect? Fischman tends toward a more intermediate level of evaluation, in terms of how well the law works as law, taking congressional mandates and agency policy as given.
As a result, Fischman sometimes treats law as a distinct realm, independent of the people who make it and the people and wildlife who are affected by it. He is not ignorant of the questions that I raise, and he does discuss them - - but I would have liked to see the emphasis of the book shifted much more in that direction.
Fischman also doesn't give much attention to the non-refuge context for refuges.Read more ›
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