The Decision Not to List the Gopher Tortoise was No Coincidence

By Peter Stangel, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and Troy Ettel, Turner Foundation
U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc.
October 24, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Forest owners in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern Alabama breathed a sigh of relief on October 11, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that the eastern population segment of the gopher tortoise did not warrant listing as Threatened or Endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Had a listing occurred, forest owners would have likely been subject to regulations that impact forest management and harvest. The decision not to list was no coincidence. It was due in large part to collaborations that clarified the number and distribution of tortoises in the eastern population and that took a leadership role in implementing conservation practices to benefit tortoises and their habitats. …Forest owners were essential members of many of these collaborations. …We think the decision not to list the eastern population of gopher tortoises is a win. …continued diligence and conservation is needed to address the many challenges that tortoise’s face

Read More