Legislation used to protect Biodiversity

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Endangered Species Act- Importance and Successes

On December 28, 1973, President Nixon signed the ESA into law, recognizing that plants and animals native to our country were in danger of becoming extinct. The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover species at risk as well as the ecosystems they depend on. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who primarily manages terrestrial and freshwater organisms, as well as the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service, who is responsible for marine wildlife
Species may be listed as either endangered or threated under the ESA. Endangered categorizes the species as at risk of becoming extinct in the near future. Threatened classifies the species as probable in becoming endangered in the future. The ESA includes all species of plants and animals, excluding pest insects. It also goes into detail to include varieties, and subspecies of said species, as well as distinct population segments (for vertebrates).
It prohibits the unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of endangered species, while establishing penalties for violating the act. It also grants aid to states, who maintain active programs for endangered and threatened wildlife.

-Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act/Invasive Species Legislation

The Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 was initiated to educate about the spread of invasive species into the waters of the United States. It works toward minimizing the impacts of established nonindigenous species, and establishing a process to assist the states in the removal of these species.
The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 reinforces and amends the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention Control Act of 1990. It includes findings such as the existing aquatic nuisances that were inadvertently introduced into lakes and rivers and the measures needed to prevent the further introduction and invasion of indigenous and destructive species.


CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wildlife Flora and Fauna) is an agreement between governments to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants do not include species that have been recognized as endangered or threatened. CITES was adopted in 1973, to which any countries may abide by voluntarily. While it is legally binding on those countries that have “joined CITES,” it does not take precedence over national law. Rather, it provides the framework that each country may respect by adopting its own domestic law to ensure that CITES is complied with on a national level.

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