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Law Courses Catalog

Wildlife Law

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2016-2017

Many experts believe that the world now faces the sixth episode of mass extinction for life on planet Earth – this one caused by humans. This course focuses on how law in the United States tries to avoid such an outcome.  

The class examines legal mandates for protection and management of biological diversity. Beginning with a brief overview of the scientific aspects of species, ecosystems, and genetic resources, the course includes consideration of interplay between science and law throughout its survey of laws related to wildlife. Substantively, the class analyzes the property and constitutional underpinnings of state and federal wildlife laws, looks at examples and structures of state regulation of wildlife, and examines the special case of American Indians’ rights to, and control over, wildlife resources. The course also focuses on several federal statutory schemes, including the Lacey Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and laws and policies aimed at controlling invasive species. The course considers federal management of wildlife habitat under statutes such as the National Forest Management Act and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, and briefly covers international efforts to protect biodiversity. Due to the statute’s broad influence on the field, the class devotes particular attention to the federal Endangered Species Act.

Class grade is based on a final examination.

The class may include optional field trips to nearby sites of importance to local wildlife.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

Description: This course examines legal mandates for protection and management of biological diversity. Beginning with a brief overview of the scientific aspects of species, ecosystems, and genetic resources, the course includes consideration of interplay between science and law throughout its survey of laws related to wildlife. Substantively, the class analyzes the property and constitutional underpinnings of state and federal wildlife laws, looks at examples and structures of state regulation of wildlife, and examines the special case of American Indians’ rights to, and control over, wildlife resources. The course also focuses on several federal statutory schemes, including the Lacey Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and laws and policies aimed at controlling invasive species. The course considers federal management of wildlife habitat under statutes such as the National Forest Management Act and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, and briefly covers international efforts to protect biodiversity. Due to the statute’s broad influence on the field, the class devotes particular attention to the federal Endangered Species Act.

Class grade is based on a final examination.

The class includes options field trips to nearby sites of importance to local wildlife.