Wednesday, 25 April 2018

National attention to endangered wildlife is not affected by global endangerment: A case study of Canada’s species at risk program

Environmental Science & Policy Volume 84, June 2018, Pages 74-79 Environmental Science & Policy Author links open overlay panelCalla V.RaymondLinaWenSteven J.CookeJoseph R.Bennett Show more rights and content Highlights • Many species at risk of extinction in Canada lack legally required plans for protection. • Many endemic and globally threatened species remain unprotected in Canada. • However, many species that are locally rare but globally secure are being protected. • Given limited resources, national priorities for conservation need to be re-evaluated. • Globally threatened endemic species should be given highest priority. Abstract With the number of endangered species increasing and budgets for protection remaining inadequate, there is an urgent need to judiciously prioritize management. Some potential approaches include prioritizing based on threat, uniqueness (i.e., full species prioritized before subspecies) or endemicity. Here, we use Canada as a case study to test whether management under the national Species at Risk Act prioritizes endemic and globally at risk species, versus subspecies and populations of globally secure species. Canada is an ideal case study because it is a large country with many species that are at the northern edge of their ranges, but others that are globally at risk endemics. We show that Canada does a poor job of prioritizing globally at risk and endemic full species. Only a small proportion of species listed have legally required ‘Action Plans’ for management, and this proportion is not significantly greater for globally at risk species. In addition, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish are more likely to be managed as subspecies or populations compared to other taxa, possibly due to greater differentiation among populations, bias in research toward charismatic or economically-valued taxa, or to allow continuation of economic activities that threaten portions of species’ habitats. Given the limited resources being allocated to conserving species at risk of extinction, we suggest that full, endemic threatened species for which host nations bear sole responsibility must be the highest priority, and that globally threatened species should also be given high priority. Previous article in issue Next article in issue Keywords Endangered species Endemic species Subspecies Populations Conservation priorities Taxonomic bias Recommended articlesCiting articles (0) Calla Raymond is a Masters Student in the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory (GLEL) at Carleton University. She is primarily interested in ecology and conservation biology. Specifically, her research is focused on conservation prioritization and the application of value of information analysis to management decisions. Lina Wen is a MSc Candidate at Carleton University, working in plant evolutionary ecology. Her research focuses on re-evaluating seed counting as a fitness measure in plants, including an empirical test using Lobelia inflata. Her research is contributing to a better understanding of how to correctly measure fitness of plant species in changing environmental conditions. Steven Cooke is the Canada Research Chair in Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology at Carleton University. He is also the Director of the Canadian Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation and Environmental Management. Joseph Bennett is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Department of Biology at Carleton University, and co-director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory (GLEL). His research themes include conservation prioritization, invasion ecology, optimal monitoring, biogeography and spatial statistics. He has a particular interest in practical questions regarding invasive species control and management to protect threatened species. He also works on theoretical questions regarding the value of monitoring information and the determinants of community assembly in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.