Critical habitat is designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It signifies that that area is essential to the conservation of a given species. However, being identified as critical habitat does not automatically halt development or grant that area any other protections. Notice how much critical habitat is found outside of our parks and IUCN Protected Areas. In fact, in LA County, only 10% of critical habitat is located within a protected area (which is in itself an ambiguous term).
Successful conservation efforts require the involvement of researchers, land managers, policymakers, and the general public. Would you like to take an active role in protecting biodiversity? Learn how to become a citizen scientist with iNaturalist.
Data sources: Critical habitat from US Fish and Wildlife Service. Protected areas from California Protected Areas Database.