Online Wildlife Law

Taught by Professor Dan Rohlf
(3 credits) Law 436-OL

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.

Course evaluation will be based on a combination of class participation and a final exam. Students will be expected to view the class videos and participate in the discussion boards in the time frames allotted.


Notes for LC JDs, MSLs, and residential LLMs:

Lewis & Clark JDs, MSLs, and residential LLMs are permitted to take some courses online within the limits of LC’s distance learning policy. Those students should consult the distance learning policy prior to signing up for distance learning courses.

Students who are on campus are asked to take the in-person version of the class when both an in-person and online version of the same class are offered in the same semester, but may petition the Associate Dean of Students, Libby Davis, to take the online version if they have a compelling reason for doing so:

JD students at other law schools may be able to take online courses if space permits and permitted by their home school. Contact Associate Dean of the Environmental Law Program, Janice Weis, at