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Buff-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) feeds on flower nectar.

Biodiversity Defense Program

Alan Murphy / BIA / Minden Pictures
Map of Earthjustice office locations in the United States, with the Seattle and Bozeman locations highlighted.

Media Inquiries

Perry Wheeler
Communications Strategist
(202) 792-6211

Contacto de Prensa

Robert Valencia
Estratega de medios hispanos
(212) 845-7376

Legal Assistance Inquiries

Who We Are

The Biodiversity Defense Program fights to reshape our relationship to lands, water, and wildlife everywhere by confronting the major drivers of the decline in nature, including habitat destruction and over-exploitation of wildlife. See bar admissions for our attorneys.

Managing Attorney
Senior Attorney
Litigation Assistant
Senior Attorney
Associate Attorney

Our Impact

Biodiversity is Important

We are all connected through the web of life, reliant for our own survival on a diversity of plants and animals and the habitats that sustain them — and us. In addition, nature is for many a source of comfort, inspiration, and spiritual and emotional salvation in an increasingly hectic and crowded world.

However, the nature that we have known is in peril.

Fast-expanding human development and exploitation of critical habitat areas by industry now endanger our entire web of life. This is true even apart from the exacerbating crisis of climate change, which compounds these problems and adds multiple new threats to species survival.

As two leading international science organizations recently emphasized, the climate and biodiversity crises must be tackled together because sustaining wild nature is essential to mitigate climate change. Providing a future for our own species is thus inextricably linked to providing a future for the myriad other species with which we share this planet.

Protecting Wildlife and Wildlands from Extinction, Overexploitation, and Habitat Destruction

The Biodiversity Defense Program builds upon Earthjustice’s 50-year legacy of protecting wildlife and wildlands by focusing its attention on the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss, including habitat destruction and over-exploitation (or over-hunting) of wildlife.

The program’s work brings Earthjustice’s strategic, collaborative, and hard-hitting approach to environmental protection into new geographies. In addition, because this work is immense and intersectional, a key piece of this program’s strategy is partnering with our 14 regional offices and programs to add litigation and policy knowledge to their work and to build new partnerships.

Additionally, we advance policies aimed at protecting habitat critical to the survival of species, such as a national plan to permanently protect America’s carbon-dense and biodiverse old-growth forests.

Highlights of Our Work

  • Gray Wolf Protections: Earthjustice’s legal team has been battling for more than 25 years to protect the gray wolf, and that effort continues with litigation challenging wolf hunts in Wisconsin, advocacy for protections for wolves in wilderness areas, and legal work to restore of federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the continental United States
  • Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan: The “lobo” of Southwestern lore is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. This program advocates for a science-based recovery plan for this genetically distinct species native to the American Southwest.
  • Boundary Waters Wilderness: In coordination with Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships Program, this team is fighting to protect the 1,100 clear lakes of this Minnesota wilderness area from mining threats.
  • California Spotted Owl: This subspecies of spotted owl lives in old-growth forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in southern and coastal California, and in the Sierra San Pedro Martir area of Mexico. The owl’s habitat is under serious threat from current logging practices and climate change impacts, including increased drought, disease, and catastrophic fires. We are in court advocating for the federal government to protect the owl under the Endangered Species Act.
  • National Elk Refuge: An antiquated feeding system to artificially boost elk populations in the Jackson Hole National Elk Refuge threatens to worsen the spread of wildlife diseases — including lethal chronic wasting disease. We are advocating for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to more expeditiously ramp down the feeding program to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease to the elk population.
  • Montana Oil and Gas Leasing: More than 25 million acres of public lands in the U.S. have been leased to the oil and gas industry for development. Earthjustice and our clients have taken a series of court actions to protect groundwater and our climate from risky oil and gas leases across staggering swaths of public lands.