Article Title

The Endangered Species Act: Static Law Meets Dynamic World

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


Professor Holly Doremus‘s article, The Endangered Species Act: Static Law Meets Dynamic World, traces the history of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") to illustrate the need to correct the assumption that nature is simple to manage. For all its flaws, the ESA remains the nation's primary biodiversity conservation act,although the construct had not been "invented" in 1973 when Congress enacted "one of the last pieces of environmental bandwagon legislation." Yet, it is difficult to adapt to the broader objective of biodiversity conservation, in part because the ESA rests on a static view of species and the landscapes and watercourses in which they live. In the future, especially as we deal with global climate change's impacts on biodiversity, evolutionary theory and adaptive management must be incorporated into the Act, even as old certainties like the definition of species become muddied.