Essay On Natural Conservation Act

Nature Conservation Act1

Passed 21.04.2004
RT I 2004, 38, 258
Entry into force 10.05.2004

Amended by the following legal instruments (show)

PassedPublishedEntry into force
17.06.2004RT I 2004, 53, 37318.07.2004
22.02.2005RT I 2005, 15, 8703.04.2005
21.04.2005RT I 2005, 22, 15229.04.2005
07.06.2006RT I 2006, 30, 23201.01.2007
21.02.2007RT I 2007, 25, 13101.04.2007
14.11.2007RT I 2007, 62, 39616.12.2007
19.06.2008RT I 2008, 34, 21101.08.2008
10.12.2008RT I 2008, 56, 31401.01.2009
18.12.2008RT I 2009, 3, 1501.02.2009
20.05.2009RT I 2009, 28, 17001.07.2009
18.06.2009RT I 2009, 35, 23201.07.2009
15.10.2009RT I 2009, 50, 33609.11.2009
27.10.2009RT I 2009, 53, 35921.11.2009
22.04.2010RT I 2010, 22, 10801.01.2011, shall enter into force on the date specified in the decision of the Council of the European Union concerning abrogation of the derogation established with regard to the Republic of Estonia on the basis of article 140 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Decision No. 2010/146/EU of the Council of the European Union of 13 July 2010 (OJ L 196, 28.07.2010, pp. 24-26).
20.05.2010RT I 2010, 29, 15120.06.2010
17.06.2010RT I 2010, 38, 23101.07.2010
16.06.2010RT I 2010, 43, 25517.07.2010
22.02.2011RT I, 10.03.2011, 220.03.2011
31.05.2011RT I, 10.06.2011, 331.05.2011, a judgment of the Court en Banc of the Supreme Court declares the text “regulation” in subsection 10 (1) of the Nature Conservation Act to be unconstitutional and null and void.
08.12.2011RT I, 29.12.2011, 101.01.2012
23.01.2013RT I, 14.02.2013, 201.03.2013
20.03.2013RT I, 05.04.2013, 215.04.2013
27.03.2013RT I, 18.04.2013, 101.05.2013
25.04.2013RT I, 16.05.2013, 201.06.2013

Chapter 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 1. Purpose of Act

The purpose of this Act is to:
1) protect the natural environment by promoting the preservation of biodiversity through ensuring the natural habitats and the populations of species of wild fauna, flora and fungi at a favourable conservation status;
2) preserve natural environments of cultural or esthetical value, or elements thereof;
3) promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

§ 2. Principles of nature conservation

(1) Nature conservation is carried out by means of restricting the use of areas important from the aspect of preservation of the natural environment, by regulating activities involving specimens of species of wild fauna, flora and fungi, specimens of fossils and minerals, and by promoting nature education and scientific research.

(2) Nature conservation will be based on the principles of balanced and sustainable development and in each individual case, alternative solutions will be considered which, from the position of nature conservation, are potentially more effective.

§ 3. Favourable conservation status of natural habitats and species

(1) The conservation status of a natural habitat will be taken as favourable when its natural range and areas it covers within that range are stable or increasing, and the specific structure and functions which are necessary for its long-term maintenance exist and are likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future, and the conservation status of its typical species is favourable as defined in subsection (2) of this section.

(2) The conservation status of a species will be taken as favourable when population dynamics data on the species concerned indicate that it is maintaining itself on a long-term basis as a viable component of its natural habitats, and the natural range of the species is neither being reduced nor is likely to be reduced for the foreseeable future, and there is, and will probably continue to be, a sufficiently large habitat to maintain its populations on a long-term basis.

§ 4. Protected natural objects

(1) The following are protected natural objects:
1) protected areas;
2) limited-conservation area;
3) protected species, fossils and minerals;
4) species’ protection sites;
5) individual protected natural objects;
6) natural objects protected at the local government level.

(2) Protected areas are areas maintained in a state unaltered by human activity or used subject to special requirements where the natural environment is preserved, protected, restored, researched or introduced. The following are protected areas:
1) national parks;
2) nature conservation areas;
3) landscape conservation areas.

(3) Limited-conservation areas are areas designated for the conservation of habitats, for the preservation of which the impact of planned activities is estimated and activities liable to damage the favourable conservation status of the habitats are prohibited.

(4) Protected species shall mean a taxonomical unit of a species of fauna, flora or fungi, the habitats of which are protected on the basis of this Act or which are listed in Annexes A to D of Council Regulation No 338/97/EC on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (OJ L 061, 03.03.1997, p. 1). Protected fossils and minerals shall mean fossils or minerals of a protected category, specimens or places of finding of which are protected under this Act.

(5) For the purposes of this Act, species protection site shall mean an area located outside of a protected area, delimited according to this Act and used in accordance with special requirements, and which is:
1) the reproduction site or place of other periodic concentration of protected animals;
2) the natural habitat of a protected plant or fungus;
3) the spawning site of salmon or river lamprey;
4) the hibernation site of brown bear;
5) the natural habitat of crayfish;
6) a badger sett with more than ten entrances.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(6) Individual protected natural object shall mean an animate or inanimate natural object such as a tree, spring, erratic, waterfall, rapid, bluff, terrace, outcrop, cave or karstic form or system which is protected on the basis of this Act.

(7) At the local government level, a landscape, valuable arable land, valuable natural biotic community, individual landscape object, park, green area or an individual object of a green area which has not placed under protection as an individual protected natural object and is not located within a protected area may be a protected object.

§ 5. Shores and banks of bodies of water

(1) A shore or a bank of a water-body is a land zone immediately adjoining a sea, lake, river, reservoir, brook, spring or land improvement system used in accordance with special requirements and protected under this Act.

(2) Land immediately adjoining the Baltic Sea, Lake Peipus, Lake Lämmijärv, Lake Pskov and Lake Võrtsjärv is deemed to be a shore.

(3) A shore or a bank of a water-body protected under this Act is not a protected natural object within the meaning of this Act.

§ 6. Application of Administrative Procedure Act

The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act apply to administrative proceedings conducted in accordance with this Act, taking account of the specifications provided for in this Act.

Chapter 2 PLACING UNDER PROTECTION

§ 7. Prerequisites for placing natural objects under protection

A natural object which is under risk, is rare or typical, has scientific, historic, cultural or esthetical value or which is subject to protection under an international agreement is deemed to have the prerequisites for placing the natural object under protection based on this Act.

§ 8. Proposal to place natural objects under protection

(1) Everyone has the right to submit a proposal to place a natural object under protection to the authority competent to initiate the proceedings for placing under protection.

(2) A proposal to place a natural object under protection shall contain:
1) the justification for placing the natural object under protection;
2) the objective for placing the natural object under protection;
3) a map indicating the location or the borders of the natural object and the natural values for the protection of which the proposal was made;
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]
4) a description of the restrictions planned for protection purposes;
5) an estimation of the costs related to placing under protection and organising of protection.

(3) The authority competent to initiate the proceedings for placing under protection shall arrange for expert assessment of the justification and purposefulness of placing the natural object under protection and assessment of the purposefulness of the planned restrictions, involving a person who has relevant specific expertise in the field (hereinafter expert).
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(4) If based on expert opinion, it is obvious that the natural object lacks the prerequisites required by this Act for placing the object under protection, the authority competent to initiate the proceedings may refuse to proceed with the matter, communicating the decision to refuse to place the object under protection along with the expert opinion to the person who submitted the proposal.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(5) If a natural object has the prerequisites required by this Act for placing the object under protection and placing the object under protection is purposeful, the proceedings for placing the natural object under protection will be initiated in accordance with the provisions of § 9 of this Act.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(6) If a proposal is made to place a natural object under protection or proceedings regarding placing a natural object under protection are initiated within the meaning of subsection 9 (1) of this Act, the administrative authority who has received an application for making an another administrative decision that could affect the state of the natural object specified in the proposal shall have the right to suspend the proceedings for making the administrative decision. The proceedings for making the administrative decision will be suspended until a decision to place the natural object under protection or refusal to place the natural object under protection is made, but not for more than 28 months as of making the decision to suspend the proceedings of making the administrative decision.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

§ 9. Proceedings for placing natural objects under protection

(1) The proceedings for placing a natural object under protection are initiated and the authority conducting the proceedings is appointed by the Ministry of the Environment, except in the event specified in subsection (2) of this section, taking account of the prerequisites for placing a natural object under protection provided by this Act.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(2) Proceedings for placing a natural object under local protection are initiated and conducted by the local authority.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(3) The authority conducting proceedings for placing a natural object under protection shall publish a notice concerning the initiation of the proceedings in the official publication Ametlikud Teadaanded and at least one national daily newspaper and a local newspaper. A notice concerning the initiation of the proceedings for placing a natural object under protection at the local government level will be published in the local newspaper.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(4) The notice shall include information on:
1) the natural object to be placed under protection;
2) the possibilities to examine the proposal or draft decision to place the natural object under protection;
3) the place and time of public discussion or a proposal to decide the matter without a public discussion;
4) the term for filing objections and propositions;
5) the authority conducting the proceedings;
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]
6) further steps in the proceedings, estimated time limits of the proceedings and the estimated time of termination of the proceedings.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(5) The authority conducting the proceedings for placing a natural object under protection shall forward the notice containing the information specified in subsection (4) of this section to the local authority and the owner of the immovable of the location of the natural object by registered mail.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(6) If a party to the proceedings has not filed, by the deadline for submitting objections and proposals, an objection to the proposal of the initiator of the proceedings to omit the public discussion in the matter of placing the natural object under protection, the party to the proceedings is deemed to have waived the right to discuss the matter in public.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(61) For the purposes of this Act, ‘party to the proceedings’ means the owner of an immovable located in the territory of or contained in a natural object to be placed under protection and the local authority as well as another person who has participated in the proceedings of placing the natural object under protection.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(7) A draft decision for placing a natural object under protection together with documents obtained or prepared in the course of the proceedings that are not subject to confidentiality requirements in accordance with law will be displayed for public examination at facilities of the Environmental Board or the local authority of the location of the natural object. The duration of the public display shall not be less than two weeks.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(71) Upon making a proposal or objection in proceedings involving placing a natural object under protection, a clear proposal or objection and reasons thereof must be specified:
1) regarding the existence or absence of natural values;
2) justification of the protection procedure;
3) information about valid administrative decisions or pending proceedings for making an administrative decision, which may affect placing the natural object under protection;
4) other essential circumstances that may affect the placing of the natural object under protection.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(8) The initiator of the proceedings must reply to written proposals and objections filed in the course of the public display 30 days after the end of the display or, if a public discussion is held, before the public discussion.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(9) After the proceedings regarding proposals and objections and renewal of a draft decision to place a natural object under protection, a public discussion will be organised except where no proposals or objections were filed within the term and a proposal to omit the public discussion of the matter had been made in accordance with clause (4) 3) of this section.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(10) If as the result of the public display or public discussion, the main positions expressed by the decision on placing the natural object under protection change, a new notice will be published and a new public display will be organised in accordance with subsections (7)-(9) of this section.

(11) The requirements provided by subsections (3)-(10) of this section do not apply to the placing under protection of species, species protection sites, fossils or minerals.

(12) The requirements of this section do not apply to placing a natural object under protection at the local government level based on a plan.

§ 10. Placing natural object under protection

(1) An area will be placed under protection as a protected area or a limited-conservation area by the Government of the Republic.
[RT I, 10.06.2011, 3 - entry into force 31.05.2011]

(2) An area will be placed under protection as a species protection site by the Minister of the Environment.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(3) Species will be placed under protection as species in the protected category I or II by a regulation of the Government of the Republic including a list of the species. Species whose sites are automatically placed belong under protection in accordance with subsection 50 (2) of this Act will belong to the protected category I.

(4) Species in the protected category III will be placed under protection by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment including a list of the species.

(5) Rare natural minerals and rare or endangered minerals found in Estonia will be placed under protection by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment.

(6) Individual protected natural objects will be placed under protection by the Minister of the Environment.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(7) A natural object protected at the local government level will be placed under protection:
1) on the basis of am established comprehensive plan or detailed plan;
2) without drawing up a plan.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(8) If a natural object is placed under protection without drawing up a plan, a boundary description of the protected area or a map of the protected individual landscape object will be drawn up and the rules of protection of the area or the individual landscape object will be approved.
[RT I 2009, 28, 170 - entry into force 01.07.2009]

§ 11. Decision for placing natural object under protection

(1) For the placing under protection of a natural object with a surface area:
1) the objective of placing the area under protection will be determined:
2) the protection procedure (protection rules) of the area will be established in the event provided for in subsection 12 (1) of this Act;
3) the boundary of the area will be determined;
4) the manager of the area to be placed under protection will be appointed;
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]
5) the map of the natural object will be appended to the decision.

(2) For the placing under protection of a species, a list of species in that category of protection will be prepared in Latin and Estonian.

(3) Upon placing an individual natural object under protection, the following will be established:
1) the objective for placing the natural object under protection;
2) the extent of the protective zone;
3) the manager of the individual protected natural object;
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]
4) the protection procedure.

(4) In the letter of explanation of placing a natural object under protection, the following will be set out:
1) reasons regarding the compliance of the purposes of placing under protection with the prerequisites for protection;
2) reasons for the practicability of placing the natural object under protection;
3) reasons for selection of the type of the natural object to be protected;
4) reasons for the external boundaries and the boundaries of internal zones of the natural object to be protected;
5) reasons for the protection procedure;
6) description of the proceedings for placing the natural object under protection, including a chronological list of the stages of the proceedings, the results of the hearing, and changes made on the basis of proposals made in the course of the proceedings along with the reasons.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(5) A letter of explanation specified in subsection (4) of this section, except for the letter of explanation of a decision to place natural objects protected at the local government level under protection, will be published on the website of the Ministry of the Environment. The letter of explanation of a decision to place natural objects protected at the local government level under protection will be published on the website of the rural municipality or city government.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(6) A decision to place a natural object under protection will enter into force on the tenth day after publication in Riigi Teataja or at the time specified in the decision.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

§ 111. Refusal to place natural object under protection

(1) If in the course of the proceedings it becomes evident that it is not practicable or possible to protect the natural object with regard to which the proceedings were initiated, a decision to refuse to place the natural object under protection will be made. A decision to refuse to place a natural object under protection will be made by a directive of the Minister of the Environment and a decision to refuse to place a natural object under local protection will be made by the authority that initiated the proceedings regarding placing the object under protection.

(2) A decision to refuse to place a natural object under protection will enter into force upon signature of the decision.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

§ 112. Delivery of decision to place natural object under protection and of decision to refuse to place natural object under protection

(1) The authority conducting the proceedings of placing a natural object under protection will deliver the decision to place the natural object under protection and the letter of explanation thereof to the party to the proceedings within ten days after the publication of the decision in Riigi Teataja and deliver the decision to refuse to place the natural object under protection within ten days after signing the decision.

(2) The documents specified in subsection (1) of this section will be delivered to the parties to the proceedings electronically if, in the course of placing the natural object under protection, the person has granted consent thereto. In the event of electronic delivery, the person is required to immediately confirm the receipt of documents by electronic mail.

(3) If the electronic delivery is not possible or the person has not confirmed the receipt of the documents in the event of electronic delivery, the documents specified in subsection (1) of this section will be delivered to the party to the proceedings by registered mail with advice of delivery.

(4) If electronic delivery is not possible and it is impracticable or impossible to send registered mail with advice of delivery, the authority conducting the proceedings will deliver the documents specified in subsection (1) of this section pursuant to the procedure established in §§ 28-32 of this Act.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

§ 12. Protection rules

(1) The protection procedure of a protected area, species protection site or individual protected natural object will be established by the protection rules.

(2) The protection rules shall set out the extent of one or several protective zones with equivalent or different degrees of strictness of restrictions, and determine whether the restrictions provided by this Act are applicable in part, in full, permanently or temporarily in each protective zone.

§ 13. Amendment and revocation of decision to place under protection and of protection rules

(1) The provisions of §§ 8 and 9 of this Act apply to the change in the type of the protected object, the objective of protection, the outer borders of the object, and to significant amendment of the scope or revocation of the restrictions or obligations related to the natural object set out in the protection rules.

(2) If a natural object protected at the local government level is also placed under protection as a protected area or an individual protected natural object, the natural object still remains under protection at the local level but, if the protection procedures conflict, the protection procedure for protected areas or individual protected natural objects shall apply.

Chapter 3 ORGANISATION OF PROTECTION

§ 14. General restrictions

(1) Without the express consent of the manager of a protected natural object, the following is prohibited within a protected area, limited-conservation area, species protection site or protective zone of an individual protected natural object:
1) to change the boundaries of the areas of the land use types and the intended use or uses thereof;
2) to prepare a land readjustment plan and to perform land readjustment activities;
3) [Repealed – RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2013]
4) [Repealed – RT I 2007, 25, 131 – entry into force 01.04.2007]
5) to establish a detailed plan and a comprehensive plan;
6) to grant consent for the construction of small construction works, including boat landings;
7) to issue design criteria;
8) to issue building permits;
9) to create a new body of water the area of which is larger than five square metres if a permit for special use of water, building permit or consent for the construction of small construction works need not be issued therefor;
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]
10) to additionally feed wild game.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(2) The manager of a protected natural object shall not approve of the activity specified in subsection (1) of this section and any other activity requiring, in accordance with the protection rules, the consent of the manager of a protected natural object if such activity is liable to interfere with achieving the objective of protecting the natural object or damage the state of the protected natural object.

(3) On approval of the activity specified in subsection (1) of this section and any other activity requiring, in accordance with the protection rules, the consent of the manager of the protected natural object, the manager of the object may set written requirements which, if complied with, ensure that the activity does not interfere with achieving the objective of protecting the natural object or damage the state of the protected natural object.

(4) If an activity specified in subsection (1) of this section are not been submitted for approval to the manager of the protected natural object or the requirements set in accordance with subsection (3) of this section are not complied with, then in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, the person in whose interests such activity is performed shall have no legitimate expectation as to the legality of such activity.

(5) The Ministry of the Environment or the Environmental Board has, as the person exercising supervision over environmental impact assessment, the right to determine environmental requirements to protect a protected natural feature if the proposed activities may harm achievement of the objective of protection of the natural feature or the state of the protected natural feature.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 15. Movement within territory of protected natural objects

(1) All roads and pathways within conservation zones and limited management zones of protected areas or within limited-conservation area or leading to protected natural monuments must be open for public use from sunrise until sunset, and if such roads or paths exist within the territory of an immovable where a protected natural monument is located, the possessor of the immovable shall ensure public access to the monument during such time.

(2) Other persons are allowed to stay in a yard where a protected natural monument is situated with the consent of the possessor of the immovable.

(3) The possessor of an immovable situated within the area of a protected natural object, or of an immovable where a protected natural object is situated has no right to prohibit the following from staying within the immovable:
1) a representative of the manager of the protected natural object in connection with administration of the natural object;
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]
2) a research worker who holds a certificate prepared according to the format established by the Minister of the Environment and issued in accordance with the terms established by the Minister of the Environment.

§ 16. Transfer of immovable containing natural object

(1) For the purpose of transfer of an immovable or a part thereof situated within a protected area or limited-conservation area or containing a single natural object or the protection site of a species or encumbrance of such immovable or a part thereof with a right in rem, the corresponding contract must contain the following information concerning the natural object:
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]
1) type and name of the natural object;
2) name of the manager of the natural object;
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]
3) reference to the decision to place the natural object under protection.

(2) The state has a right of pre-emption upon transfer of an immovable located, in whole or in part, within the boundaries of a shore building exclusion zone, protection site of a species in the protected category I, limited management zone of a protected natural monument, protected area or limited-conservation area.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(3) A right of pre-emption does not apply in events where an immovable is transferred to the owner's spouse, descendants, parents or their descendants, or grandparents or their descendants.

(4) Within three days after certifying a transaction for the transfer of an immovable or a part thereof, the notary shall submit the transaction document to the Ministry of the Environment at the transferor's expense.

(5) Based on an application by the manager of a protected area, species protection site, limited-conservation area or protected natural monument, a notation will be entered in the land register that the immovable is encumbered with the right of pre-emption of the state. The validity of the right of pre-emption shall not depend on the entry of a corresponding notation in the land register.
[RT I 2010, 38, 231 - entry into force 01.07.2010]

(6) The Minister of the Environment or a person authorised by the Minister shall exercise the right of pre-emption in the name of the state. The costs related to the transfer of ownership of an immovable to be acquired on the basis of the right of pre-emption will be borne by the state.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

§ 17. Necessary activities within protected natural object

(1) The activities necessary within the area of a protected natural object hosting semi-natural biotic communities are activities which promote natural aspect and species composition thereof, such as mowing, grazing, and designing, thinning or deforestation of tree and shrub layers, the extent of which will be determined, in the event of a limited-conservation area, by a management plan and in the event of other protected natural objects, by protection rules.

(2) Semi-natural community occurrence areas are areas hosting communities of natural biota, such as wooded meadows, alvars, paludified meadows, fen meadows, coastal meadows, flooded meadows, grasslands on mineral soils, wooded pastures which have developed in the course of long-term human activity, such as grazing or mowing.

(3) Activities necessary for restoring natural forest and mire community within a protected area, such as ditch blocking, felling gaps or mineralizing the ground, may be ordered by the protection rules.

(4) Cutting may be ordered within a protected area by the protection rules as an activity necessary for clearing particular views.

(5) [Repealed – RT I 2006, 30, 232 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

(6) The administrative authority may grant the owner or possessor of an immovable located within the boundaries of a protected natural object use without charge of a movable owned by the state for the performance of necessary activities arising from the protection regime or management plan of the protected natural object.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(7) The provisions concerning the grant of use of state assets of the State Assets Act do not apply to the grant of use without charge of movables owned by the state. A contract for grant of use will be concluded between the manager of the protected natural object and the person using the immovable and the contract shall set out at least the following:
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]
1) the types of movables dispatched to the user, their numbers in the register of state assets and the number of things by type;
2) the name, and residence or seat of the user;
3) the term of the contract;
4) the time of transfer of the things and the term of and procedure for their return;
5) the obligation to insure and the extent of required insurance coverage;
6) the obligation to maintain the thing dispatched to the user in good working order, and to replace or repair the thing;
7) the bases for premature termination of the contract;
8) the terms, description and technical requirements for the necessary activity arising from the protection regime;
9) the intended purpose of the thing dispatched to the user.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(8) If the possessor of the immovable refuses to perform the necessary work prescribed by the protection rules or the management plan or fails to reach an agreement with the manager of the protected natural object, the possessor has no right to prevent the manager of the protected natural object from arranging such work.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(9) In the event specified in subsection (8) of this section, the necessary work to the extent determined by the protection rules will be carried out by the manager of the protected natural object at the expense of the state, unless the natural object has been placed under protection at the local government level.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(10) Performance of work necessary for preservation of semi-natural biotic communities of protected areas, limited-conservation areas or species protection sites is not deemed to be economic activities or business.

§ 18. Nature conservation subsidy

(1) Nature conservation subsidy is paid for performance of work specified by the protection rules or management plan necessary for preservation of semi-natural biotic communities of protected areas, limited-conservation areas or species protection sites.

(2) Possessors of immovables have the right to apply for nature conservation subsidy.

(3) The procedure for application for nature conservation subsidy, review of applications and payment of subsidy, the requirements for payment of subsidy, and the rates of subsidy will be established by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment.

(4) Nature conservation subsidy is not paid if:
1) the person who is performing the work fails to comply with the contract concluded for obtaining the subsidy, or the result of the nature conservation work does not meet the requirements established by the contract or legislation;
2) the person who is performing the work has submitted inaccurate information upon application for nature conservation subsidy;
3) no funds are prescribed by the state budget of the current year for payment of nature conservation subsidy to a land unit which ranks lower in the priority list of applications, or
4) the activity is to be carried out within a parcel of land with regard to which compensation for damage caused by migratory birds in the current year is applied for under subsection 61 (1) of this Act.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(5) Payment of nature conservation subsidy is based on a contract entered into between the manager of the protected natural object and the person performing the work, and the instrument of delivery and receipt concerning work performed in conformance with the requirements of such contract.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 19. [Repealed – RT I 2008, 34, 211 – entry into force 01.08.2008]

§ 20. Acquisition of immovable containing protected natural object

(1) An immovable which contains a protected natural monument or is located, as a whole, within the territory of a protected area, limited-conservation area or species protection site and whose use for its intended purposes is significantly hindered by the protection regime may be acquired by the state upon agreement with the owner of the immovable for payment corresponding to the value of the immovable.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

(11) The state will not acquire an immovable in accordance with the procedure provided for in this section if a person has acquired the immovable after it was placed under protection and the transfer transaction contained information concerning the natural object to be protected, unless:
1) the protection regime applicable regarding the immovable is made stricter;
2) the immovable was acquired by inheritance;
3) the immovable was acquired from a spouse, descendant, parent or his or her descendant or grandparent or his or her descendant, and a person whose immovable is acquired was the owner of the immovable before it was placed under protection or before the protection regime was made stricter;
4) the immovable was acquired by way of restitution of unlawfully expropriated property and the order of the local authority to return the land has been issued before 7 July 1996.
[RT I, 05.04.2013, 2 - entry into force 15.04.2013]

(12) If an immovable is not is located, as a whole, within the territory of a protected area, limited-conservation area or species protection site or if its size exceeds the territory of the limited management zone of a protected natural monument, the part of the immovable located within the protected area, limited-conservation area or species protection site may be acquired by the state based on an agreement between the state and the owner of the immovable. The division of the immovable will be organised by the owner of the immovable and the costs relating to the division will be borne by the person who initiated the acquisition.
[RT 2009, 35, 232 - entry into force 01.07.2009]

(13) Upon agreement with the owner of the immovable, the state may acquire the whole immovable if:
1) the part of the immovable located within the protected area or limited-conservation area is larger than two thirds of the total area of the immovable or
2) the immovable is partially located within the boundaries of a protection site of a species in the protected category I or a limited management zone of a protected natural monument.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

(2) Acquisition of an immovable may be initiated by the owner of an immovable, the manager of a protected natural object or the Minister of the Environment. The Minister of the Environment shall decide on acquisition of immovables. The costs related to the acquisition of immovables will be borne by the state and acquisition will be financed within the limits of the amount allocated in the state budget for each budgetary year.
[RT I 2009, 50, 336 - entry into force 09.11.2009]

(21) The value of an immovable, except the value of an immovable covered with forest, will be determined by the comparison of transactions. Upon determination of the value of an immovable, the real rights which due to their nature cannot be deleted from the land register (e.g. servitudes, neighbourhood rights) and restrictions on the immovable property ownership arising from Acts, except the protection regime which is the bases for the acquisition of the immovable, will be taken into account.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

(22) The value of an immovable covered with forest will be determined as the sum of the value of the plot of land and the crop standing on the plot of land. If, upon determination of the value of an immovable covered with forest, the value of the standing crop is not of material importance and, arising from the market situation, the assessed value of land does not reflect the market price of the region, a representative of the state may order an appraisal in order to determine the value of the immovable covered with forest.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

(3) The procedure for the acquisition of immovables containing protected natural objects by the state and for proceedings regarding proposals and the criteria on the basis of which the use of an immovable for its intended purposes is deemed to be significantly hindered by the protection regime and the procedure and basis for determination of the value of an immovable will be established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.
[RT I 2008, 34, 211 - entry into force 01.08.2008]

(4) The acquisition of an immovable will be decided in the order of receipt of the applications for acquisition, unless there is good reasons for extension of the proceedings. If there is a good reason, an application will be resolved after the good reason has ceased to exist. Information on the order of receipt of the applications for acquisition will be published on the website of the Ministry of the Environment.
[RT I, 05.04.2013, 2 - entry into force 15.04.2013]

§ 201. Set-off of values of state-owned immovable put on auction and immovable containing protected natural object

[Repealed – RT I, 05.04.2013, 2 – entry into force 15.04.2013]

§ 202. Set-off by Minister of Environment

[Repealed – RT I, 05.04.2013, 2 – entry into force 15.04.2013]

§ 21. Manager of protected natural objects

(1) The manager of a protected area, limited-conservation area, species protection site and protective zone of a protected natural monument will be the Environmental Board (hereinafter administrative authority).

(2) The local authority which decided on placing a natural object specified in subsection 4 (7) of this Act under protection, or a rural municipality or city agency authorised by the local authority to administer the object shall act as the manager of such object.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 22. Administration of protected natural objects

Administration of a protected natural object shall include:
1) issue of a permit for use of the environment determined by this Act and the protection rules, and setting conditions for the issue of the permits;
2) participation in public disputes for assessing plans or environmental impact liable to affect the protected natural object, and setting conditions for planned activities liable to affect the protected natural object;
3) organisation of activities arising from the protection rules or management plan;
4) monitoring of compliance with the requirements provided by this Act and the protection rules, and notification of the Environmental Inspectorate of discovered violations.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 23. Marking of protected natural objects

(1) A protected area, limited-conservation area, protected natural monument or natural object protected at the local government level will be marked such that the location of the protected natural object could be reasonably understandable at the site.

(2) The protected natural object will be marked by the manager of the natural object.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(3) The procedure for marking protected natural objects and the markings to be used will be established by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment.

§ 24. Protection obligation notice

(1) A protection obligation notice is a document issued for information purposes to the owner of an immovable that contains a brown bear hibernation site or the habitat of a species belonging to the protected category I, or whose immovable is located within such area, or to the possessor of such an area concerning whom a corresponding entry has been made in the land register, an administrator of state assets or an authorised authority (hereinafter jointly referred to as possessor).
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(2) A protection obligation notice must contain:
1) information concerning the protected natural object, the name of the authority that placed it under protection and the date of placing it under protection;
2) the objective for placing the natural object under protection;
3) information concerning the manager of the natural object;
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]
4) a list of restrictions provided by this Act and legislation issued on the basis thereof.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(3) The Environmental Board will issue a protection obligation notice immediately after learning of the whereabouts of a brown bear hibernation site or a habitat of a species belonging to protection category I.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(4) A protection obligation notice will be delivered against a signature or sent by registered mail.

(41) A protection obligation notice will not be delivered to the State Forest Management Centre.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(5) [Repealed – RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2013]

(6) [Repealed – RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2013]

(7) [Repealed – RT I 2009, 3, 15 – entry into force 01.02.2009]

(8) The possessor of an immovable shall immediately inform third parties who, by an order of the possessor of the immovable, are authorised to stay at the immovable or perform the work or provide services commissioned by the possessor of the immovable about restrictions in force at the protected natural object.
[RT I 2010, 43, 255 - entry into force 17.07.2010]

§ 25. Management plan

(1) For the purpose of organising the protection of limited-conservation areas and protected areas, a management plan will be prepared which shall set out:
1) the significant environmental factors and their impact to the natural object;
2) the objectives of protection, work necessary to reach the objectives, and the priority, schedule and volume of work;
3) a budget for accomplishing the plan.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(2) The procedure for the preparation and approval of the management plan will be established and the person approving the management plan will be determined by the Minister of the Environment. Information regarding approval of the management plan will be published on the website of the Environmental Board.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

Chapter 4 PROTECTED AREAS

§ 26. National park

(1) A national park is a protected area prescribed for the preservation, protection, restoration, research and introduction of the natural environment, landscapes, cultural heritage and balanced use of the environment of the protected area.

(2) The following are national parks of Estonia:
1) Lahemaa National Park, intended for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the coastal landscapes of Northern Estonia;
2) Karula National Park, intended for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the hilly moraine landscapes of Southern Estonia;
3) Soomaa National Park, intended for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the mire landscapes and floodplain landscapes of transition zone of Estonia (Estonia intermedia);
4) Vilsandi National Park, intended for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the coastal landscapes of the Western Estonian archipelago;
5) Matsalu National Park, intended for the protection of the characteristic biotic communities of Western Estonia and of the natural and cultural heritage of the Väinameri Sea region.

(3) A national park may include strict nature reserves, conservation zones and limited management zones.

§ 27. Nature reserve

(1) A nature reserve is a protected area prescribed for the preservation, protection, restoration, research and introduction of the natural environment.

(2) The zones possible in a nature reserve are the strict nature reserve, conservation zone and limited management zone.

§ 28. Landscape protection area (nature park)

(1) A landscape protection area is an area prescribed for the preservation, protection, restoration, research, introduction and regulation of use of landscapes of the protected area.

(2) A park, arboretum or forest stand is a special type of landscape protection area.

(3) The zones possible in a landscape protection area are the conservation zone and limited management zone.

§ 29. Strict nature reserve

(1) A strict nature reserve is a land or water area of a protected area whose natural status is unaffected by direct human activity and where the preservation and development of natural biotic communities is ensured only through natural processes.

(2) All types of human activity is prohibited within a strict nature reserve, and persons are prohibited from staying in such reserves, except in events specified in subsections (3) and (4) of this section.

(3) Persons may stay in a strict nature reserve only for the purposes of supervision, rescue work or administration and organisation of the protection of the natural object.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(4) People may stay in a strict nature reserve for the purpose of monitoring and assessment of the status of the natural object only with the consent of the manager of the protected area.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 30. Conservation zone

(1) A conservation zone is a land or water area of a protected area prescribed for the preservation of natural and semi-natural biotic communities established or to be developed therein. Mineral resources present within a conservation zone are not deemed to be resources intended for exploitation.

(2) Unless otherwise provided by the protection rules, the following will be prohibited within a conservation zone:
1) economic activities;
2) use of natural resources;
3) erection of new construction works;
4) staying of persons in the habitats of protected species and staging areas of migratory birds;
5) driving motor vehicles, off-road vehicles or floating vessels;
6) camping, building fires and organising public events.

(3) The prohibition established by clauses (2) 4) and 5) of this section does not extend to supervision and rescue work, activities related to organisation of the protection and administration of the natural object, and to research carried out with the consent of the manager of the protected natural object.
[RT I 2009, 3, 15 - entry into force 01.02.2009]

(4) The following may be permitted by the protection rules in the conservation zone as activities necessary for the preservation of the object or activities that do not harm the object:
1) maintenance work on existing land improvement systems and restoration of the water regime;
2) development of biotic communities in adherence to the objective of protection;
3) gathering of berries, fungi and other forest by-products;
4) hunting activities;
5) fishing activities;
6) erection of roads, utility works or non-production construction works for servicing an immovable located within the protected area, or the protected area, and maintenance of existing construction works;
7) activities necessary for guaranteeing the preservation of the characteristic features and species composition of semi-natural biotic communities, and activities for preservation of the living conditions of protected species;
8) gathering of reed and seaweed.

(5) [Repealed – RT I 2009, 3, 15 – entry into force 01.02.2009]

§ 31. Limited management zone

(1) A limited management zone is a land or water area of a protected area where economic activities are permitted, taking account of the restrictions provided by this Act.

(2) Unless otherwise provided by the protection rules, the following will be prohibited within a limited management zone:
1) construction of new land improvement systems;
2) altering the water levels and shorelines of bodies of water;
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]
3) extraction of mineral resources;
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]
4) design of pure stands and planting of energy forests;
5) regeneration cutting;
6) training of crowns of trees and bushes, planting and cutting woody plants in parks, arboreta and forest stands under protection as special types of landscape protection areas and in the limited management zones of protected areas aimed at protecting park, arboreta and forest stands without the consent of the manager of the protected area;
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]
7) use of biocides, plant protection products and fertilizers;
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]
8) erection of construction works, including temporary construction works, and altering the exterior structure of construction works located in a national park;
9) hunting and fishing activities;
10) driving motor vehicles, off-road vehicles or floating vessels, except for the performance of work necessary for the maintenance of line facilities, and for forestry work or agricultural work in profit-yielding land;
11) camping, building fires and organisation of public events in locations not intended for such purposes and unmarked by the manager of the protected area;
12) gathering of reed on unfrozen ground.

(3) An obligation to preserve natural balance and the species and age diversity within biotic communities and a prohibition on haulage and transportation of timber out of the zone if the ground is not frozen may be established by the protection rules. If the protection rules prohibit the haulage and transport of timber when the ground is not frozen, the manager of the protected area may allow it when the ground permits it.
[RT I, 18.04.2013, 1 - entry into force 01.05.2013]

(4) Restrictions different than those provided by the Forest Act may be established by the protection rules with regard to the size and form of cutting areas and the composition of a forest within a limited management zone necessary for the preservation of a biotic community or protected species within the zone. Restrictions on the time of cutting may be established by the protection rules within a species protection site.
[RT I 2007, 25, 131 - entry into force 01.04.2007]

(5) [Repealed – RT I 2009, 3, 15 – entry into force 01.02.2009]

Chapter 5 LIMITED-CONSERVATION AREAS

§ 32. Limited-conservation area

(1) A limited-conservation area is established with the aim to ensure the favourable conservation status of wild fauna, flora and fungi unless it has been ensured by any other method provided by this Act.

(2) Destruction or harming of the habitats for the protection of which a limited-conservation area was formed, significantly disturbing the protected species, and all activities which are likely to endanger the favourable conservation status of the habitats and protected species are prohibited within a limited-conservation area.

(3) Logging activities are prohibited within a limited-conservation area if such activities are likely to harm the structure and functions of the protected habitats or endanger the preservation of species typical to the habitats.

(4) The objective of establishment of a limited-conservation area will be taken account of upon the processing of forest in compliance with the Forest Act. The manager of a limited-conservation area may impose an obligation to:
1) perform planned logging at a determined time,
2) use designated technologies for performance of planned logging.

(41

6.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter will discuss the protection of other species by humans, mainly in the USA. The protective legislation inspired by the wanton destruction of wildlife in the 19th century was the first of a long line of legislative efforts that eventually led to modern endangered species legislation (Table 6.1). Early wildlife conservation measures were aimed mainly at game animals, but modern measures have been increasingly aimed at endangered species and habitats. In this chapter, we will discuss major legislation in the USA that has given us a broad spectrum of protection, arguably on paper the most extensive protection of wildlife of any country in the world.

Table 11.1 Key federal legislative events in endangered species protection.



__________________________________________________________

1872 Yellowstone National Park founded
1900 Lacey Act
1903 First Wildlife Refuge
1911 Fur Seal Treaty
1913 Weeks-McLean Act
1916 Migratory Bird Treaty Act
1934 Duck Stamp Act
1937 Pittman-Robertson Act
1950 Dingell-Johnson Act
1966 Endangered Species Act
1969 National Environmental Policy Act
1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act
1973 Endangered Species Act
1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

__________________________________________________________

6.2 THE LACEY ACT OF 1900

The most apparent cause of the precipitous decline of North American wildlife in the late 19th century was hunting. Thus, the most obvious remedy was direct legal protection. The Lacey Act, sponsored by Representative John F. Lacey of Iowa, was passed by Congress in 1900 as a direct response to public outcry over the slaughter of herons and other birds to furnish plumes for ladies hats. The Lacey Act made interstate transportation of illegally killed game animals a federal offense. This effectively curbed market hunting, as the market for the plumes was in the Northeastern states while the birds lived in the Southern states. The Lacey Act also sought to limit importation of exotic wildlife, such as the house sparrow and mongoose whose introductions were detrimental to native wildlife. This law was the first to bring the federal government into the wildlife conservation picture. The Lacey Act was designed primarily to curb illicit traffic in wildlife products, and to prevent poachers from killing animals in one state and then smuggling them into another with less restrictive laws. Because of its wide scope, the Lacey Act was supported both by sport hunters and by the increasing number of bird protectionists who were organizing across the country.

6.3 PELICAN ISLAND

As a direct result of the campaign against plume hunting, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order in 1903 declaring a small nesting area in Florida--Pelican Island--as the first federal bird sanctuary. Roosevelt's order unleashed a flood of nominations of other sites to be protected, and by the end of his first term in 1904, there were 51 wildlife refuges. Today the National Wildlife Refuge System, originated by Roosevelt, includes almost 450 sites, encompassing nearly 90 million acres in 49 states and 5 trust territories. In California alone there are 32 such refuges. One of the most recent refuges to be established is in the Yolo By-pass, next to Davis (Yolo Basin Wildlife Refuge).

6.4 WATERFOWL PROTECTION ACTS

Inthe 19th and early 20th century, market hunting (large scale shooting of waterfowl for sale) caused major declines in populations of wild ducks and geese. Sport hunters became alarmed at this and began pressing for conservation measures. Federal protection specifically for waterfowl began in 1913 with the Weeks-McLean Act, which established federal control over migratory birds and ended spring waterfowl hunting. This was an important step in protecting breeding birds. The Act allowed the Secretary of Agriculture to set closed seasons when it would be illegal to capture or kill migratory birds. Passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1916, signed by the United States and Great Britain, established formal cooperation between the United States and Canada for the protection of both game and nongame birds. In 1937 the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was amended to include Mexico. While this treaty was originally designed to protect waterfowl for sport hunting, a major result was the complete protection (on paper) of all other migratory birds.

In 1934 the Duck Stamp Act , passed at request of duck hunters, required all waterfowl hunters to purchase an annual federal stamp. The first Duck Stamps were sold at one dollar each, and a total of 635,000 were sold. Duck Stamps today cost ten dollars each and are bought by stamp collectors as well as hunters. Proceeds from the Duck Stamps are used to protect critical wetlands for breeding, migration stopover, and wintering of waterfowl. The first Duck Stamp was drawn by J. "Ding" Darling, a political cartoonist who frequently focussed on environmental issues (Figure 6.1).



Figure 6.1. Cartoons of J "Ding" Darling were a major force in convincing people to protect waterfowl and wetlands.

While market hunting was devastating to many species, sport hunting rarely endangers species and, in fact, provides a good source of revenue for wildlife protection and habitat improvement, as exemplified by the Duck Stamp Act and the Pittman-Robertson Act. The passage in 1937 of the Pittman-Robertson Act, also known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, created an major source of funds for wildlife restoration by placing a 10% tax on the manufacture of sporting arms and ammunition. Additionally, this act stipulated that all money raised from the sale of hunting licenses must be used for wildlife projects. Prior to the Pittman-Robertson Act, money intended for wildlife conservation often got redirected to fund other local projects such as schools or road repairs.

When federal funds first became available, much of the attention of state wildlife agencies was concentrated on the larger ungulates (hooved mammals) whose populations had been decimated during the days of market hunting. In the first ten years following the Pittman-Robertson Act, thirty-eight states acquired nearly 900,000 acres of refuges and wildlife management areas. Extensive replantings of trees and grasses were undertaken and massive restocking efforts transplanted deer, pronghorn, elk, mountain goats, and mountain sheep to these restored areas. The Pittman-Robertson Act was so successful that 13 years later the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 was modelled after it to generate similar funds for fisheries projects.

6.5. THE FUR SEAL TREATY OF 1911

The northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) was nearly exterminated by a century and a half of seal hunting on the Pribolof Islands by Russian, American, Canadian, and British sealers. After the United States purchased Alaska and the Pribolofs from Russia in 1867 there was an attempt to limit harvesting of fur seals, but there was no regulation on the open seas where the hunt continued. In 1911, the Fur Seal Treaty was signed by the United States, Russia, Japan, and Great Britain. The treaty provided protection for fur seals and sea otters on the high seas (outside the 3 mile limit) from the four signatory nations. Each of the countries agreed to prohibit pelagic sealing by its nationals and to manage populations of fur seals within its own territorial waters.

The treaty was upheld until the beginning of WWII when it was terminated by Japan's entry into the war. From 1942 until 1957 the Pribolof fur seals were protected under a provisional agreement between the United States and Canada. In 1957, the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention was signed by Canada, Japan, Russia, and the United States. This interim treaty, which was similar to the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty, was followed by the Interim Convention on Conservation of North Pacific Fur Seals signed in 1963. These treaties called for intensified research programs and the establishment of a North Pacific Fur Seal Commission to study and make recommendations for management procedures and harvest quotas.

Fur seal populations have benefitted from the protection and management provided by these treaties. From a low of about 125,000 in 1911, the population approached its former size of an estimated 2 to 3 million animals (Trefethen, 1975). Approximately 30,000 fur seals are collected annually by licensed sealers in a well-managed industry. However, the populations of seals are now threatened by loss of their food supply, as heavy fishing depletes the fish they depend upon.

6.6 THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACTS OF 1966 and 1969

Although legislation designed to protect birds and game animals has a long history in the United States, the first act specifically focusing on species threatened with extinction was the Endangered Species Act of 1966. This Act was fairly innocuous, simply authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to maintain a list of rare and endangered species. No legal protection or federal aid resulted from the 1966 Act. In 1969, the Endangered Species Conservation Act expanded the original legislation to include all species of vertebrates and some species of invertebrates as well. Importation of endangered species or their products was prohibited, and the addition of foreign species to the United States list was authorized by this legislation. The Endangered Species Act is a landmark in wildlife protection because the legislation was created specifically for the benefit of wildlife rather than for human motives (maintaining populations for sport or future market use, for example).

Figure 6. 2. Examples of endangered species in the United States

6.7 THE 1973 ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

Legislation was passed in 1973 that replaced the two previous endangered species laws with a comprehensive and prohibitive policy that went far beyond the earlier versions. Three important things to note about the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) are: 1) the protection of habitat designated as critical to the survival of a species, 2) the inclusion of plants as well as animals as species that can receive federal protection, and 3) the inclusion of subspecies and isolated populations of species regardless of their global status.

In contrast to earlier legislation that provided protection to endangered species only on federal land, the 1973 Endangered Species Act prohibits any taking (a broad term including killing, harming, collecting, trapping, confining, and a whole range of similar activities) of endangered species. The 1973 ESA also extends protection to "almost endangered" species, now referred to as "threatened." Individual states are permitted to adopt more restrictive legislation.

The 1973 ESA recognizes species as components of ecosystems, and stresses that the integrity of ecosystems must be maintained. The stated purpose of the Act is to protect and enhance populations of endangered species through a variety of conservation steps. These steps include 1) official listing of species as threatened or endangered, 2) prohibition of taking of listed species, 3) acquisition of habitat for listed species, and 4) the development and implementation of recovery plans for listed species. Unfortunately, each of these steps comes with a variety of stumbling blocks that makes the reality of endangered species protection quite different from the theory of the ESA.

According to the 1973 ESA, the Secretary of the Interior is required to establish a list of threatened or endangered species. The criteria for endangerment includes any reason--natural or human caused--for the decline of a species. The official status of a species which has undergone a population decline can be divided into three overlapping categories: "endangered," "threatened," and "of special concern." Endangered species are those whose populations have declined to a point where extinction is imminent if action is not taken to protect the species. Threatened species are those whose numbers are declining and are likely to become endangered in the near future if protective action is not taken. Species of special concern are those in decline, or of very limited range, but not known to be faced with extinction in the immediate future.

The process of listing a species may be initiated by any individual, agency, or group by submitting a petition to the Secretary of the Interior. The weight of the supporting evidence supplied by the petitioner is judged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or if a marine or anadromous species is involved, by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Of the 661 species on the endangered and threatened list in 1982, the NMFS had regulatory authority over 14, and the USFWS over the rest. Some criteria for designating a species as threatened or endangered include: 1) habitat destruction, 2) overexploitation, 3) potential eradication due to disease or predation, and 4) inadequate protective regulations.

The formal listing process has four steps. First, a species is nominated for review of its status. The second step is an evaluation of the petition to determine whether it warrants further review. A nomination is then either rejected, which rarely occurs, or is accepted for a second review. This second review is a holding action during which further information is collected and evaluated. This step is often used in controversial cases to slow down the listing process. Third, the agency staff then solicits data and prepares a status report to determine whether a species should be listed, or given a change in status. This report is then evaluated by numerous USFWS offices, and must be approved by each office before further action is taken. The final step in the listing process is a notice of proposed listing which is published in the Federal Register. At least 60 days must be provided for public comment. During this time outside parties can request a public hearing on the proposal. If no further review is required, the species then receives its final listing in the Federal Register.

In theory, listing a species should require a total of 195 to 255 days between the time a petition is received and its final listing in the Federal Register. In practice, listing takes at least two years, sometimes much longer. For many species, the grossly understaffed agencies file a report saying they cannot list the species because they have inadequate time or information to do a proper evaluation.

The 1973 Endangered Species Act mandates that recovery plans be developed for all species listed as endangered. Recovery plans are intended to identify the causes of a species' decline and to specify actions needed to reverse the decline, including the designation of critical habitats necessary to facilitate their recovery. The ultimate goal of the ESA is the eventual removal of a species from the endangered species list.

During the first 16 years of the Act only 533 species, of more than 3,900 candidates, have actually been listed as threatened or endangered, and only 242 recovery plans have been approved (Blair, 1989). A mere five species had been de-listed. Two of these species--the brown pelican and the American alligator--have recovered in only parts of their historic range, and the other three species--the Palau dove, Palau fantail, and Palau owl--owe their "recovery" to the discovery of other previously unknown populations, and not to successful recovery efforts. Ten more species have been "down-listed" from endangered to threatened, but for five of these species it was to allow regulated hunting, fishing, or capture, and not because of improvement in their status (Blair 1989). More recent status information is presented in Figure 6.3.

GROUPENDANGERED
US
ENDANGERED
Foreign
THREATENED
US
THREATENED
Foreign
TOTAL LISTINGSSPECIES WITH PLANS
MAMMALS55252 91933539
BIRDS74178 16627472
REPTILES1465 201511431
AMPHIBIANS88 612311
FISHES6711 40011874
SNAILS151 702318
CLAMS562 606443
CRUSTACEANS14030176
INSECTS244 903720
ARACHNIDS500054
ANIMAL
SUBTOTAL
332521116411010318
FLOWERING PLANTS49011030594307
CONIFERS200241
FERNS and
OTHERS
260202818
PLANT SUBTOTAL51811052626326
GRAND TOTAL850522221431,636*644*
TOTAL US ENDANGERED: 850 (332 animals, 518 plants)
TOTAL US THREATENED: 221 (116 animals, 105 plants)
TOTAL US LISTED: 1071 (444 animals***, 623 plants)

* Seperate populations of a species listed both as endangered and threatened, are tallied twice. Those species are the argali, leopard, gray wolf, piping plover, roseate tern, chimpanzee, green sea turtle, saltwater/nile crocodile, and olive ridley sea turtle. For the purpose of the Endangered Species
Act, the term 'species' can mean a species, subspecies, or distinct vertebrate population. Several entries also represent entire genera or even families.

** There are 446 approved recovery plans. Some recovery plans cover more than one species, and a few species have separate plans covering different parts of their ranges. Recovery plans are drawn up only for listed species that occur in the U.S.

*** Four animals have dual status in the U.S.
Figure 6.3 Status report of endangered species in the United States, 1997. From USFWS Endangered Species Update

Interest groups play an important role in the implementation of the ESA. It has been estimated that at least half of the listings since 1973 resulted from the presence of a visible constituency (Tober 1989). Pressure from interest groups has a strong impact on the action taken by the listing agency. In general, if a species is to be put on the protected list, it has to have an advocate within the USFWS or in an environmental or scientific group (Yaffee 1982). When an effective interest group lobbies for a species, it often speeds up the listing process, and may also result in a higher degree of protection for a species than would otherwise have been provided.

The decision to list, or not to list, a species is dependent upon a huge amount of administrative discretion. Although the 1973 ESA states that the values of species to be protected include aesthetic, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific, it is scientific and commercial data that provide the basis for legal protection of a species (Tober 1989). Mathematical models, based upon biological data, are used to predict the future of a species. However, for most endangered species, neither historical nor more recent data exist to adequately describe the basic population biology of the species. Furthermore, an understanding of the species' role in the ecosystem and its interactions with other species is frequently sketchy, and the impact of human- induced change on it often unknown (Yaffee 1982). Consequently, decisions must be made on the basis of woefully inadequate information. Even seemingly straightforward taxonomic questions, such as: "what makes a species?", can lead to problems. Grizzly bears, for example, have been reclassified several times. The decision to protect an isolated population of grizzly bears depends upon whether one believes there are eighty-six different subspecies, as some claim, or just two subspecies, as others claim.

The many problems with the ESA have lead to considerable controversy in its reauthorization, which has still not been accomplished as of this writing (1997). The act formally expired in 1992 but has been kept alive by annual congressional appropriations for its continuance. Public opinion polls indicate the ESA is very popular with the American people, who appreciate its success at protecting symbols of the wild such as the bald eagle. However, environmental groups find fault with it because its focus on species makes it too narrow when the problems are so large; a more ecosystem based approach would be preferred.. On the other side, some politicians attack the act as interfering with private property rights and economic activity, although such allegations are usually exaggerated. The final revised act that emerges through the reauthorization process is likely to be quite different in many respects from the existing act, for better or worse. A major part of the new act is likely to be a focus on Habitat Conservation Plans.

6.9. HABITAT CONSERVATION PLANS

Because the ESA was perceived as seriously interfering with development and use of private lands, in 1982 it was amended to allow the development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs). HCPs are agreements between the federal government and private landowners that allow a landowner to destroy or alter habitat of endangered species in exchange for protecting similar or better habitat elsewhere, or by contributing to a program to restore degraded habitat. HCPs are now being developed at a rapid rate, especially in California. There is widespread agreement that the concept of HCPs is good in that they focus on protecting habitats and can defuse long and expensive court proceedings. They are nevertheless highly controversial because:

1. They require long-term decisions on habitat protection to be made using the best available information, which is often very inadequate. HCPs typically are agreements that last 50-100 years.

2. They contain a "No Surprises" clause which says that if new information or new endangered species are discovered on the private land covered by the HCP, the landowner is exempt from doing anything about it. If critical habitat for an endangered species is found on private land covered by an HCP, the federal government will have to buy the land, if it wants to save the habitat and the species.

3. Most are covered by a "Safe Harbor" policy, which establishes a baseline level for the population of an endangered species on land covered by the HCP. If the numbers rise above the baseline (e.g., by colonization of yet-to-be-developed land), the landowner can remove the "extra" individuals (by transplanting them to another area) without fear of penalty. The purpose of this policy is to eliminate the motivation of landowners to destroy habitats on undeveloped land for fear it will be colonized by an endangered species.

4. HCPs are very expensive and time-consuming to set up and monitor. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the main agency responsible for establishing, monitoring, and enforcing provisions of HCPs, is a small, underfunded agency that does not have the resources for this task.

Perhaps the most ambitious HCP to date is has been established to protect the endangered California gnatcatcher (a bird) and other plants and animals found mainly in Coastal Sage Scrub in southern California. The land this biotic community occupies encompasses areas of five southern California counties and is some of the most valuable real estate in the world. Most of it has been slated for development, to accomodate the sky- rocketing human population of the region. The HCP in this case is being developed through a process established by the state, Natural Community Conservation Planning (fondly known as NCCP). This process has definitely defused the major ESA fight looming between conservationists and developers (although it is highly contentious itself) and is providing protection to some lands that would otherwise be developed. Whether or not the Coastal Sage Scrub community will survive the process is not known, but many regard the liklihood of survival to much higher with the NCCP than without it (Holing 1997)..

6.8 NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT OF 1969

In 1969 Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which requires environmental impact statements (EIS) for all federally funded projects. NEPA directs all federal agencies to prepare an EIS for any federal action that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment. NEPA was designed to insure that information about potential environmental impacts of proposed projects was available to the general public. This marked the beginning of public participation in environmental decision making and provided the impetus for environmental litigation. Ideally, NEPA is intended not only to require evaluation of potential projects but also to encourage critical evaluation of the environmental impacts of possible alternatives. Actual implementation of NEPA has resulted in numerous court cases concerning procedural as well as substantive questions.

NEPA requires that every proposed federal aid project be examined objectively to determine the effects it will have upon the environment. In the first five years of NEPA, federal agencies filed nearly 7000 draft environmental impact statements (Tober 1989). The number of preliminary assessments used to determine the need for the more elaborate analysis of the EIS was many times greater. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers produced approximately 10,000 preliminary assessments in 1975, resulting in 273 environmental impact statements (Tober 1989).

6.9 MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 was the first national legislation to emphasize the stability of the ecosystem as the primary objective of management. This new law established an indefinite moratorium on the taking of all species of marine mammals, pending review of the status of each by the Secretary of the Interior. The MMPA has established cooperative state-federal research programs with grants to organizations and universities for research into the population status, limiting factors, and general health of all marine mammal populations. Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Americans are exempted from the taking provision and allowed to obtain meat for subsistence and ivory and hides for traditional cultural uses.

With the Marine Mammal Protection Act, jurisdiction over marine mammals is split between the Commerce and Interior departments. The MMPA also contains provisions for a "depleted" category, which is similar to the threatened category in the Endangered Species Act. Legislation such as the MMPA, NEPA, and the ESA can be seen as beginning to confer basic rights on nonhuman elements of the natural environment (Yaffee, 1982). Additionally, passage of the MMPA has provided further international thrust to species protection.

Since the passage of this act, populations of marine mammals have increased rapidly to the delight of the general public. Interestingly fishermen are complaining that the mammals are competing with them for the ever-declining stocks of fish and shellfish. They are also preying on endangered salmon runs. This is leading to major confrontations over enforcement of the act..

6.10 CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES

The Lacey Act of 1900 was the first legislation to restrict international animal trade. However, such activities continued to pose a major threat to wildlife for many decades. First drafted in the mid-1960s, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was signed by 87 nations in March 1973, over a year and a half past the date specified in the 1969 ESA. The goal of CITES is to protect the viability and survival of species from threats caused by international trade in those species or in products made from them. Each member nation is required to establish its own agencies to regulate the import and export of endangered or threatened species and to appoint a scientific advisory authority. For participating nations, CITES became effective in 1975. CITES also affects countries which did not choose to sign the treaty, by eliminating the market for illegally obtained species. The signing of CITES also pressured the United States to establish stronger domestic legislation to set an example for other countries, and to develop protocol for implementing such regulations.

CITES, today numbering 102 countries, meets periodically and representatives from member nations decide, among other things, which species should be placed in Appendix I and Appendix II. Appendix I species are considered endangered, and commercial trade is not permitted. Both import and export permits are required. Appendix II species are threatened and could become endangered if trade is not regulated. Export permits are required. A strength of CITES is that the burden of proof is on the exploiter. CITES requires potential exploiters to prove that a species is not endangered before trade in that species will be allowed. CITES has resulted in the fate of many species being played out on the international arena. Two specific examples that will be discussed here are the African elephant and the black rhinoceros.

The African Elephant

Estimates of African elephant numbers in 1989 ranged from 550,000 to 700,000, down from 1.5 million just ten years earlier. To satisfy world demand for ivory, an estimated 200 to 300 African elephants were killed every day. A quota system for legal, regulated trade in ivory was authorized in the 1970s by CITES. However, since at least 80% of the world's ivory trade is believed to occur illegally, the quota system was ineffective. Obviously, the best way to halt the decimation of the elephant populations is to halt the demand for their products.

In June 1989 the United States banned the import of both raw and worked ivory from all countries. This ban is aimed at individual souvenirs purchased abroad by tourists as well as large commercial imports. It will remain in effect at least until adequate sustainable harvest levels are determined and enforceable international ivory trade controls are established. Up until the recent importation ban, the United States imported 10 to 12% of Africa's annual ivory export for piano keys, jewelry, and trinkets. About 65% of the U.S. imports come from Hong Kong which is the major world ivory dealer and carver. Both the U.S. and Hong Kong are members of CITES. Japan, another member of CITES, is the world's leading consumer of ivory. In October 1989, CITES moved elephants from Appendix II to Appendix I, resulting in a complete ban on the trade in elephant products. The immediate result has been a 30 to 50% drop in the market value of ivory.

The U.S. ivory moratorium does not prevent sport hunters from importing trophies of African elephants legally taken in the country of origin, providing that the country has a CITES ivory export quota and has issued appropriate export permits. Legal sport hunting has not been a significant factor in the elephant's decline. Furthermore, the license fees and other expenses associated with legal sport hunting contribute to wildlife management programs and give African countries an additional economic incentive to maintain huntable herds. Interestingly, South Africa and Zimbabwe both have large managed elephant populations, and derive income for wildlife conservation and park management from the sale of ivory.

Figure 6.3 . African elephant Black rhinoceros

The black rhino is another African mammal that has been hunted to near extinction. The rhino is sought after for its horn. Rhino horn is not literally a horn, but a growth of densely packed keratin fibers, the same kind of protein that makes up hair and fingernails. Rhino horns weigh an average of 3 to 4 kg (6 to 7 pounds) and are from 30 to 100 cm (1 to 3 feet) in length. They are used primarily as handles for ceremonial daggers in some Arab countries, and in a powdered form as a fever reducer and aphrodisiac in Asia. Rhino horn is sold on the black market throughout the world.

Rhino horn is sold for about $1500 per kilogram and individual horns may fetch up to $15,000. This monetary value has had a catastrophic impact on the rhinoceros populations in Africa. In 1970 the African rhino population was estimated at 65,000; by 1990 there were only 3,500. The Serengeti National Park had 600 rhinos in 1970, and now has only one. The world population of rhinos is estimated to be declining by 50% every 4 to 5 years. Some rhinos have been collected for captive breeding, but many people believe the species will soon be extinct in the wild.

Figure 6.4. The Indian rhinoceros is also fading into extinction.

6.11 CONCLUSION

The take-home message of this chapter is that endangered species can be saved. Admittedly it is hard to be optomistic when we see the enormous economic interests pitted against the underfunded agencies and private organizations dedicated to the salvation of species. Yet progress has been made and at best a few species have been pulled back from the brink of extinction. In the long run, species preservation will depend on us changing our life styles and making sure there continues to be room on this plantet for all species.

LITERATURE

Blair, R. 1989. Recovery planning and endangered species. Endangered Species Update 6(10):2-8.

Carroll, R. et. al. 1996. Strengthening the use of science in achieving the goals of the endangered species act: as assessment by the Ecological Society of America. Ecological Applications 6: 1-11.

Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. June 1989. U.S. bans ivory imports for protection of the African elephant. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington D.C. Vol., XIV. 6:1-6.

Holing, D. 1997. The coastal sage scrub solution. Nature Conservancy magazine 47 (4): 16-24.

Ono, R. D., J. D. Williams, and A. Wagner. 1983. Vanishing Fishes of North America. Stone Wall Press, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Stewart, D. 1978. From the Edge of Extinction. McClelland and Stewart Limited, Toronto, Canada.

Tober, J. A. 1989. Wildlife and the Public Interest. Praeger Publishers, New York, NY.

Trefethen, J. B. 1975. An American Crusade for Wildlife. Boone and Crockett Club Book, Winchester Press, New York, NY.

Yaffee, S. L. 1982. Prohibitive Policy: Implementing the Federal Endangered Species Act. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

0 thoughts on “Essay On Natural Conservation Act

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *