The Effect of the ESA on Forest landowners

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 1, Issue 1 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the most powerful environmental law in the United States. However, in order to ensure the survival of listed species, the ESA imposes restrictions on lands that can prevent landowners from developing or altering their property. These restrictions often lead to arguments that the ESA imposes significant financial harm on landowners. This essay explores the connection between ESA regulations and widespread financial harm to forest landowners. Given the difficulty in studying large-scale effects to landowners, anecdotal case studies are the primary source of information, serving as the impetus to ESA opposition and fueling speculation and controversy on the total financial effects of ESA regulations on forest landowners. Despite their difficulties, large-scale empirical studies are needed to determine the widespread effect of the ESA on landowners and to make any necessary changes to the ESA’s current restrictions.

Find the full version of this article in PDF form here.

Ryan Meezkowski is an Instructor at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland.