To conclude their guest contributions to BioLaw, my KU Biodiversity Law class has come up with a top ten list of insights into biodiversity law that they learned during the class in the Virgin Islands. In no particular order, here they are:
(1) The greatest threats to biodiversity are habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, (over)population, and overexploitation.
(2) Unenforced laws are not worth the paper they are printed on.
(3) Human impact on our planet is the product of population, affluence, and technological efficiency.
(4) Externalities and lack of reliable information may lead to market failures that may, in turn, lead to inefficiently destructive (and often irrational) human behavior towards biodiversity.
(5) In the public policy arena, whenever possible, it is important to show the financial impact that biodiversity loss will cause.
(6) Ambiguities in science, as well as the law, make it difficult, if not impossible, to define the term “species.” It is equally difficult to define the term “ecosystem.” Yet, many laws, both domestic and international, depend on these units of biodiversity.
(7) Public support appears essential to biodiversity protection.
(8) Choosing a charismatic "umbrella species" is likely helpful in garnering public support for biodiversity protection.
(9) The baseline biodiversity condition at which many would like to remain varies depending which biologists one consults.
(10) International law and international cooperation are essential for establishing and implementing sound, effective, and lasting biodiversity protection initiatives.
Obviously, there are many other possible insights into biodiversity law. However, this set is satisfyingly diverse and substantive.