An article by Melissa Breyer for Tree Hugger.
In our efforts to save animals at risk of extinction, we’ve saved some extraordinary places as well.
The Endangered Species Act was signed in December of 1973, providing agency for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened – the beautiful bonus is that the conservation of the habitat on which they depend is consequently, and necessarily, protected as well.
Jamie Pang and Brett Hartl from the Center for Biological Diversity had this in mind when they penned their report, Saving Species and Wild Space: 10 Extraordinary Places Saved by the Endangered Species Act. In it they highlight not only that the Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plant and animal species it shields, but that the Act’s protective measures help revitalize and keep safe the places where they live, including some of the world’s most remarkable forests, plains, deserts and oceans. From the report:
Though land acquisition and the creation of wildlife refuges to better management of public lands and waters to pollution control, the Act provides a comprehensive framework to recover endangered species. Those same highly effective conservation tools help to restore and revive ecosystems that have become degraded after decades of abuse. All across the United States, the conservation benefits of endangered species protection spread far beyond individual protected species to entire ecological communities key to the long-term health of thousands of species, including humans.
The authors note that hundreds of millions of acres of land and water have rebounded and are being beautifully cared for and protected, and it creates a bit of a snowball effect. When a wildlife refuge is established for the protection of an endangered species, thousands more species of plants and animals also benefit. “The landscapes, seascapes and waterways we cherish and depend on are healthier and more vibrant as a direct result of the proven conservation tools provided by the Endangered Species Act.”
To see the whole list go to the original report here.
One place in the Caribbean is listed:
Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge, Virgin Islands
Only 14 acres in size, Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge was designated as a wildlife refuge and declared as critical habitat for the St. Croix ground lizard when the lizard was declared endangered in 1977. The small island now plays home to one of the only two naturally remaining populations of the lizard in the world. and the largest. The lizard population has more than tripled to 818 since the island was protected; the Caribbean brown pelican has benefitted greatly as well.