A definition of 'habitat' under the ESA


The Supreme Court’s opinion in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 139 S. Ct. 361 (2018), raises important questions about the scope of the Endangered Species Act’s protections for critical habitat. In a short ruling, the Court opined that ‘critical habitat’ must be ‘habitat,’ but it did not attempt to define ‘habitat’ as a scientific or legal matter. Here we provide a brief scientific and legal analysis and propose a definition of ‘habitat’ that the Services could adopt to address this gap.

Defenders brief
Jacob Malcom
Previous Director

As the previous Director in the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders, Jacob led CCI’s work at the intersection of science, technology, and policy to improve conservation outcomes, especially for threatened and endangered species.