Protected Habitat Shrunk for U.S. Endangered Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) consistently disregarded scientific advice when determining how much land to protect for endangered species during the George W. Bush Administration, a new study shows. The analysis, which includes decisions made between 2002 and 2007, shows that the agency was much more likely to ignore expert advice to increase protected areas. Instead, the agency typically ended up cutting the amount recommended by scientists, often by a sizeable amount.
FWS is required to designate critical habitat when it puts an organism on the endangered species list, although it doesn’t always do this unless sued by environmental organizations. A study in 2005 found that the conservation status of species with designated critical habitat was twice as likely to improve than the status of species without any designation.