Save Land to Protect Biological Diversity

The author of the article "Heading Off Clashes Over At-Risk Species," May 3, is right on the mark in his analysis of the threats to biological diversity and the need to reduce our reliance on the Endangered Species Act.

Saving species means saving land. Although the public lands, including national forests and wildlife refuges, provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife, these areas alone will not suffice if we are to retain all our native species. If we hope to conserve biodiversity and avoid the need to continue adding to the endangered species list, we must encourage conservation of habitat on private lands.

Of particular importance are private lands linking larger blocks of public lands. They provide migration routes and thus prevent the isolation of wildlife populations - which too often leads to erosion of the gene pool and eventually extinction.

To encourage landowners to help create a network of habitat that we call "lifelands," there must be a system of tax incentives and other inducements. We hope to foster a debate on the most promising options for rewarding landowners for their conservation efforts. Mark Shaffer, Washington Vice President, Resource Planning and Economics The Wilderness Society Wisdom in stockpiling?

In the Opinion page article "Egypt Faces Pressure From Islamic Neighbors," April 26, the author suggests that strategic cooperation with Egypt "might include the stockpiling of American military hardware in Egypt for use by either country in case of emergency."

The list of countries to which we have sold or given military equipment that has later been taken over by the opposition and used against a more liberal government - and/or against the United States - is too long to enumerate.

Are we still seriously considering such suggestions? Would stockpiling it be any safer? Doris F. Sutter, San Rafael, Calif.

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