SCI 207 Dependence Of Man On The Environment
Professor Nguyen April 18, 2011
Table of Contents
The Endangered Species Act1
Pros Of The Endangered Species Act2
Biodiversity and The Endangered Species Act3
Cons of the Endangered Species Act4
The Endangered Species Act was established in 1973. The purpose of the act is to protect endangered species along with the habitat in which their life depends. The Endangered Species Act lists a species as endangered if it is likely to become extinct through all or a portion of its range. The act also protects “threatened” species that are likely to become endangered in the future if something is not done to protect them. (Endangered Species Act, n,d.) In the book Clashing Sides, Taking Views a controversial debate has arisen over whether the Endangered Species Act should be strengthened or left as it is. (Easton, 2008) In this paper the author will examine both sides of the issue thoroughly. After examining both sides of the issue the author will make a determination on which side of the issue holds more merit.
The Endangered Species Act has had many positive influences in its more than 35 years of existence. Hundreds of breeds of species have been saved from going extinct. Millions of acres of fish and wildlife habitats have been protected from technological advances. (Keeping the Endangered Species Act, n.d.) To date, 98% of the endangered species that have been put under the care of the Endangered Species Act are still in existence today. (Easton, 2008) If the Endangered Species Act was not in place then it is more than likely that these magnificent animals would not be around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for generations to come. Not only does the Endangered Species Act protect the animals but it is likely protecting people as well. That is because the Endangered Species Act is helping maintain biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the number and variety of species within the ecosystem they occupy, (Cunningham, 2008, p.96) Biodiversity is important if you want to have a healthy ecosystem. In the ecosystem each species is highly dependent on another species for survival. An incident at Yellowstone Park showed what could happen if a key species is removed from an ecosystem. The park began to notice that the ecosystem was having a lot of problems. The Elk Population was over browsing. Smaller mammal populations were dwindling and plant health and diversity was on the decline. They believed that this was because of the eradication of the areas main predator, the grey wolf. They wanted to introduce grey wolves back into Yellowstone Park to see if it would balance out the ecosystem. Their goal was successful. The wolves prey on the Elk in turn helping reduce the elk population. This helped eliminate the over browsing and returned plant health and diversity. The Elk Carcass left behind by the grey wolf also helps feed predators. Finally, the wolves have also decreased the population of the coyote which was preying on the small mammals. As you can see all the original problems that Yellowstone Park was experiencing was solved by integrating the grey wolf back into the ecosystem. (Cunningham, 2008, page 95) In the future it is possible that humans could face the extinction of a key species that is important to our very survival. “Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year — which breaks down to the even more daunting statistic of some three species per hour.” (Eldredge, 2001) Those numbers should be a wakeup call. We humans depend on biodiversity like any other species. All of these species that are becoming extinct could be among many that are critical to our survival. Therefore, we should do what...