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Important species are increasingly becoming endangered on private lands largely left unregulated by federal and state laws. The gopher tortoise is one such species. The tortoise is a keystone species, meaning that upon its existence numerous other species exist. Despite its importance, tortoise populations have declined by 80% - partly due to development pressures, but primarily due to forest management practices which have reduced the longleaf pine ecosystem upon which it depends. This article focus on legal and policy issues associated with both development and forest management. Because private forest management practices are the primary cause of tortoise decline, the article concludes by suggesting management practices which can benefit both private landowners and the tortoise. Blake Hudson, J.D. candidate, Duke Law '07.