Protecting Endangered Species Habitat on Private Lands
The Society of American Foresters (SAF) recognizes that private forestlands are an important source of habitat for threatened and endangered species (T&E species). Federal laws and the resulting regulations affecting private landowners’ obligations to protect endangered species and their habitats can and should be balanced with the needs of landowners. SAF urges that federal legislation and regulations dealing with T&E species: (1) provide for innovation and flexibility for habitat protection and management on private lands; (2) provide adequate financial incentives and technical support for landowners to voluntarily manage and enhance such habitat in ways consistent with their overall objectives; and (3) fundamental / administrative reform to the Endangered Special Act (ESA), including single species designation process with the responsibility to overcome the burden of proof resting with the petitioner. Additionally, SAF urges that Congress and the Administration support ongoing evaluation of landowner participation, administrative reforms, and associated program funding to encourage greater participation of landowners in implementing habitat conservation practices for listed species.