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owners to have the confidence to place leopard frogs willingly on their private land. Landowners must know that the Endangered Species Act will not be used retroactively to restrict the activities on which their livelihood depends.

We believe that rigid single-species management in our biologically diverse world is wrong. Whether the species is a ridgenose rattlesnake, a willow flycatcher, or a beef cow, management for one species alone is narrow-minded, short-sighted, ineffective, and, in fact, harmful.

Will this unfortunate action ultimately blow apart the efforts in the Malpai Borderlands? We hope not. The Malpai Borderlands Group is positioned uniquely to bring to bear the scientific rigor and influence necessary to address this abuse. If the principals are willing to come together to talk and to work for as long as it takes for all concerns to be addressed fairly, the confidence and trust that must exist for a collaborative effort to work can return.

From Montana to Hawaii to Brazil, the “radical-center” approach of the Malpai Borderlands Group is regarded by many as the best—and maybe the only—hope for our remaining wildlands. However, reasonable people in both the public and private sectors must be allowed to work together in pursuit of creative solutions to issues about the land as they occur. If they are not allowed this flexibility, all the government policies and global treaties that can be dreamed up will amount to only so much hot air and wasted paper and ink.

Writing in support of the approach of the Malpai Borderlands Group, James Brown stated, “Ranchers, conservationists, government-agency employees, research scientists, and the American public all have much to lose if the present climate of distrust, disagreement, and interference is perpetuated. All have much to gain through interaction, cooperation, and collaboration” (Brown and McDonald 1995). Which will be our legacy? The generations to come will be the biggest losers or winners.


Brown JH, McDonald W. 1995. Livestock grazing and conservation on southwestern rangelands. Cons Biol 9:1646.

Rabinowitz A. 1997. The status of jaguars in the United States: trip report. New York NY: Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo. p 3–5.

Swetnam TW, Baisin CH. 1995. Historical fire occurrence in remote mountains of southwestern NM and northern Mexico. Gen Tech Rept INT-320. Ogden UT: USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station. p 153–6.

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