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The Endangered Species Act, Issues
(Released June 2004)

 

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  1. Landowners' Responses to an Endangered Species Act Listing and Implications for Encouraging Conservation

    Brook, A; Zint, M; De Young, R

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1638-1649. Dec 2003.

    Private landowners manage many rare species' habitats, yet research on their responses to species conservation legislation is scarce. To address this need, we examined private landowners' responses to the listing of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). We mailed a questionnaire designed to measure these responses to a sample of landowners. The adjusted response rate was 46% (n =379). The questionnaire asked landowners whether they had managed their land to improve the Preble's habitat and to minimize the chance of the Preble's living on it. We also asked whether landowners had or would allow a survey for the Preble's on their property. We hypothesized that landowners would respond to these questions based on their aesthetic preferences, economic concerns, information sources, parcel size, personal values, recreation activities, residence status, social influences, and other factors. Listing the Preble's under the ESA does not appear to have enhanced its survival prospects on private land. In terms of hectares owned, for example, the efforts of landowners who reported they had sought to help the Preble's (25%) were canceled out by the efforts of those who sought to harm it (26%). Moreover, the majority of respondents had not or would not allow a biological survey (56%), thus preventing the collection of data for conserving the species. All eight hypothesized determinants significantly predicted responses to the listing when they were considered individually. When considered simultaneously, however, only one economic consideration (dependence on agriculture), recreation activity (consumptive), and social factor (distrusting government), and select information sources (conservation and social), and personal values (valuing nature, valuing local control, and denying landowner responsibility) remained direct determinants. To promote the conservation of rare species by private landowners, we recommend communicating information through social networks, alleviating landowners' economic concerns, increasing use of collaborative processes, and institutionalizing assurances that landowners will not be harmed by managing their land to help rare species.Original Abstract: Propietarios privados manejan el habitat de muchas especies raras, sin embargo son escasas las investigaciones sobre sus respuestas a la legislacion sobre conservacion de especies. Para atender esta necesidad, examinamos las respuestas de propietarios privados a la inclusion del raton de Preble (Zapus hudsonius preblei) en la lista de especies amenazadas segun el Acta de Especies en Peligro (AEP) de E.U. A. Para medir estas respuestas, enviamos por correo un cuestionario a una muestra de terratenientes. La tasa ajustada de respuesta fue 46% (n =379). El cuestionario le preguntaba a los terratenientes si habian manejado sus terrenos para mejorar el habitat del raton de Preble o para minimizar la probabilidad de que los ratones vivan en el. Tambien preguntamos si los terratenientes permitieron o permitirian un muestreo de ratones en sus propiedades. Nuestra hipotesis fue que los propietarios responderian a estas preguntas segun sus preferencias esteticas, preocupaciones economicas, fuentes de informacion, tamano de parcelas, valores personales, actividades recreativas, estatus residencial, influencias sociales y otros factores. Aparentemente, la inclusion del raton de Preble en el AEP no ha incrementado su probabilidad de supervivencia en tierras privadas. Por ejemplo, en terminos de hectareas poseidas, los esfuerzos de propietarios que informaron haber tratado de ayudar al raton (25%) fueron cancelados por los esfuerzos de los que trataron de danarlo (26%). Mas aun, la mayoria de los respondientes no habian permitido ni permitirian un muestreo biologico (56%), evitando asi la recoleccion de datos para conservar a la especie. Considerados individualmente, las ocho determinantes hipoteticas predijeron respuestas significativas a la inclusion de la especie. Sin embargo, consideradas simultaneamente, solo permanecieron como determinantes directas la dependencia en la agricultura (consideracion economica), la actividad recreativa (de consumo), la desconfianza en el gobierno (factor social), las fuentes de informacion selectas (conservacion y social) y los valores personales (valoracion de la naturaleza, valoracion del control local y negacion de la responsabilidad de propietarios). Para promover la conservacion de especies raras por propietarios privados recomendamos informar a traves de redes sociales, aligerar las preocupaciones economicas de los propietarios, incrementar el uso de procesos colaborativos e institucionalizar la certidumbre de que los propietarios no serian perjudicados por manejar sus tierras para favorecer a especies raras.

  2. Using Population Viability Analysis to Develop Recovery Criteria for Endangered Insects: Case Study of the Fender's Blue Butterfly

    Schultz, CB*; Hammond, PC

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 1372-1385. Oct 2003.

    The U. S. Endangered Species Act ( ESA ) requires that recovery plans establish 'objective, measurable' criteria on which to base listing decisions. Recovery plans are more effective if these criteria are clearly linked to the biology of species of interest. We reviewed recovery plans for 27 listed insect species. Recovery criteria for threatened and endangered insects were poorly linked to species biology. We used population viability analysis to develop quantitative recovery criteria for insects whose population sizes can be estimated, and applied this framework in the context of a recently listed butterfly, the Fender's blue ( Icaricia icarioides fenderi ). We used a simple diffusion-approximation approach developed to estimate extinction risk from count-based census data. The method assumes that future trends can be predicted based on current conditions and that observer error is minimal. Of 12 sites we surveyed for at least 8 years, only one population had a high likelihood of persistence. Given observed variation in population growth rate ( sigma super(2) = 0.79 ) and an initial population size of 300 butterflies, a minimum average growth rate ( lambda ) of 1.83 would be needed for there to be a 95% probability that a population would survive 100 years. As the number of independent sites increased, the minimum lambda required to have a 95% probability that at least a population at one site would survive 100 years declined. For downlisting, we recommend that three independent sites be maintained or restored in each region of the Fender's blue, with minimum average growth rates of at least lambda = 1.55 over 10 years. Given that 41 insect species are listed under the ESA, development of quantitative recovery criteria would be useful and feasible for at-risk insect species whose population sizes can be estimated.Original Abstract: El Acta de Especies en Peligro de E. U. A. ( AEP ) requiere que los planes de recuperacion establezcan criterios 'objetivos, mensurables' para sustentar las decisiones de listado. Los planes de recuperacion son mas efectivos si estos criterios se relacionan claramente con la biologia de la especie de interes. Revisamos los planes de recuperacion de 27 especies de insectos listadas. Los criterios para la recuperacion de insectos amenazados y en peligro estaban deficientemente relacionados con la biologia de la especie. Utilizamos analisis de viabilidad poblacional para desarrollar criterios cuantitativos para la recuperacion de insectos cuyo tamano poblacional se puede estimar, y aplicamos este marco conceptual en el contexto de una mariposa recientemente listada ( Icaricia icarioides fenderi ). Utilizamos un enfoque simple de aproximacion difusa para estimar el riesgo de extincion a partir de datos de conteo en censos. El metodo supone que se pueden predecir tendencias futuras con base en condiciones actuales y que el error del observador es minimo. De 12 sitios muestreados durante por lo menos 8 anos, solo una poblacion tuvo una probabilidad de persistencia alta. Dada la variacion observada en la tasa de crecimiento poblacional ( sigma super(2) = 0.79 ) y un tamano poblacional inicial de 300 mariposas, se requeriria una tasa minima de crecimiento promedio ( lambda ) de 1.83 para que hubiera 95% de probabilidad de que la poblacion sobreviva 100 anos. A medida que aumento el numero de sitios independientes, declino la lambda minima para tener 95% de probabilidad de que por lo menos una poblacion sobreviviera 100 anos en un sitio. Para retirarla de la lista, recomendamos que en cada region de Icaricia icarioides fenderi se mantengan o restauren tres sitios independientes, con tasas minimas de crecimiento promedio de por lo menos lambda = 1.55 por 10 anos. Considerando las 41 especies de insectos listadas en el AEP, seria util y factible desarrollar criterios de recuperacion cuantitativos para especies de insectos en peligro cuyos tamanos poblacionales pueden ser estimados.

  3. Beyond demography and delisting: ecological recovery for Yellowstone's grizzly bears and wolves

    Pyare, S; Berger, J

    Biological Conservation [Biol. Conserv.]. Vol. 113, no. 1, pp. 63-73. Sep 2003.

    This paper addresses the question, when are threatened or endangered species really recovered? The US Endangered Species Act enables the de-listing of species once demographic criteria are met. In the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, two protected apex carnivores, grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus), face removal from federal government protection due to population increases, a point at which they are expected to be integrated components of this ecosystem. We tested the assumption that these two carnivores are playing normative ecological roles in the Yellowstone ecosystem by comparing the extent to which wolves and bears have re- instilled anti-predator responses in a primary prey species, moose (Alces alces), within wolf and bear recovery zones. As a type of control, we contrasted female moose from two areas in Alaska with different predator regimes to those in Wyoming. Populations from mainland Alaska, a region with a relatively intact carnivore assemblage, responded significantly more to odors of both carnivores. In contrast, a basic anti-predator reaction was lacking in Wyoming; and responses to grizzly bear odor only nominally increased after dependent young experienced heightened mortality. Additionally, the level of response among Alaskan moose living under virtual predator-free conditions for 25+ years closely resembled that of conspecifics in Wyoming. That such striking variation in prey responses exists re-enforces critical ecological differences between predator-intact and-defunct systems. Thus, although grizzly bears and wolves in the Yellowstone area will most likely be de-listed within the next few years, whether such action would be ecologically defensible is arguable. At this point in the recovery process, these predators may currently have limited ecological impacts in large portions of this region, at least as gauged by one potentially important prey species, moose. Although our data suggest ecologically incomplete conditions, other indices of carnivore recovery that include responses of other important prey species such as elk (Cervus elaphus), may be more in tune with carnivore activities. We recommend that different types of ecological data available throughout recovery zones be used in consort with demographic criteria to evaluate when endangered carnivores are more fully integrated into their ecosystems. And, in the event of a disparity between these criteria, we also encourage a dialogue focusing on approaches towards bringing ecological conditions in concordance with demographic criteria, irrespective of whether one considers increasing population levels beyond the current target levels required for de-listing,and/or simply, additional time for the recovery process.

  4. TO REMOVE OR MODIFY THE SURVEY AND MANAGE MITIGATION MEASURE STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES, FOREST SERVICE NATIONAL FOREST REGIONS 5 AND 6 AND BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS IN WASHINGTON, OREGON, AND CALIFORNIA WITHIN THE RANGE OF THE SPOTTED OWL.

    EPA number: 030207DS, 340 pages, May 2, 2003

    PURPOSE: The removal or modification of Survey and Manage Mitigation

    Measure Standards and Guidelines (SMMMSG) governing U.S. Forest Service in regions 5 and 6 and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) districts in Washington, Oregon, and California within the range of the endangered northern spotted owl is proposed. The proposal responds to a settlement agreement resulting from a lawsuit against the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior. The proposal would require amendment of the Northwest Forest Plan (NFP). Concerns have been raised that the SMMMSG are frustrating Forest Service and BLM efforts to the accomplish resource management objectives of the NFP. Three alternatives, including a No Action Alternative (Alternative 1), are considered in this draft supplement to the final EIS of 1994 addressing the forest plan. The 304 affected species were analyzed to determine the consequences under the three alternatives. The analyses demonstrated that the SMMMSG and the Special Status Species programs add protection and reduce risk to species. Alternatives 2 or 3 would, respectively, amend or modify agency land and resource management plans to remove the SMMMSG. Alternative 2, the preferred alternative, would amend 28 land and resource management plans to remove SMMMSG provisions. The alternative would provide for surveys prior to habitat-disturbing activities, site management, conservation strategies, inventories, consideration of potential mitigation measures, the addition or removal of species from protective provisions, and provisions for reporting, monitoring, and review of land and resource management plans. Annual costs of Alternative 1, 2, and 3 over the next 10 years are estimated at $25.9 million, $7.5 million, and $11.8 million, respectively. Thereafter, annual costs are expected to drop to $15.3 million, $7.5 million, and $9.2 million, respectively POSITIVE IMPACTS: The preferred alternative would continue to provide for diversity of plant and animal communities in the affected areas; reduce the agencies' cost, time, and effort associated with rare and little known species conservation; and restore the agencies' ability to achieve resource management objectives that were established under the NFP. Compared to Alternative 1, annual timber harvest would be 100 million board-feet (MMBF) or 75 MMBF higher under alternatives 2 or 3, respectively. Alternatives 2 and 3 would increase annual employment and hazardous fuel treatment acreage. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Recognizing that much remains unknown about many of the species, 141 species would remain at high risk of extirpation under all alternatives due to factors beyond the control of the FS and the BLM. A total of 47 and seven species, which are not at high risk under Alternative 1, would be at high risk of extirpation under alternatives 2 and 3, respectively. LEGAL MANDATES: Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), and National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of a previous draft supplemental EIS, see 03-0325D, Volume 27, Number 3.

  5. NATOMAS BASIN HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN, CITY OF SACRAMENTO AND SUTTER AND SACRAMENTO COUNTIES, CALIFORNIA: ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATOMAS BASIN HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN.

    EPA number: 030188F, Final EIS (Volume I)--776 pages, Draft EIS (Volume II)--321 pages, Habitat Management Plan (Volume 1)--401 pages, Habitat Management Plan (Volume 2)--298 pages, April 24, 2003

    PURPOSE: The issuance of a incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the implementation of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for species within the Natomas Basin of Sacramento and Sutter counties, California is proposed. The objective of the proposed action is to reconcile the needs of 22 special-status species with planned land development and water facility operations in the basin. Issuance of the ITP would authorize the incidental take of several listed wildlife species resulting from urban development and other activities. These species include the federally protected giant garter snake, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, vernal pool species, Coulsa grass, Orcutt grasses, and the California tiger salamander as well at the state-listed Swainson's hawk. The implementing agreement(s) would also cover a suite of other wildlife and plant species if they were to become listed in the future. The HCP would establish a comprehensive program for the preservation and protection of habitat for threatened and endangered species potentially occurring on approximately 52,537 acre of undeveloped and agricultural land in northwestern Sacramento and southern Sutter County. The acquisition lands or conservation easements for the purpose of creating and managing permanent habitat would be the primary mechanism for mitigating impacts to listed species. Habitat reserves would be managed by the Natomas Basin Conservancy and would consist of managed marsh habitats, upland habitats, rice fields (which would typically e leased for use to rice farmers), and associated buffers and infrastructure. The HCP would also include management measures intended to avoid or minimize impacts on species during activities during urban development and water facility operations. POSITIVE IMPACTS: The HCP would protect and enhance the habitat of threatened and endangered species and other species in the basin, while allowing for development and the continued supply of water for agricultural and other uses. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: The HCP would result in the conversion of farmland to managed marsh and other natural habitats, resulting in a significant loss of agricultural production in the area. Urban development allowed under the plan would result in conversion of yet more agricultural lands as well as wildlife habitat and the incidental take of threatened and endangered species in the area. LEGAL MANDATES: Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 02-0413, Volume 26, Number 4.

  6. Economic costs and benefits of instream flow protection for endangered species in an international basin.

    Journal of the American Water Resources Association [J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc.]. Vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 427-440. Apr 2003.

    Ward, FA; Booker, JF

    The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) restricts federal agencies from carrying out actions that jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species. The U.S. Supreme Court has emphasized that the language of the ESA and its amendments permits few exceptions to the requirement to give endangered species the highest priority. This paper estimates economic costs associated with one measure for increasing instream flows to meet critical habitat requirements of the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Impacts are derived from an integrated regional model of the hydrology, economics, and institutions of the upper Rio Grande Basin in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. One proposal for providing minimum streamflows to protect the silvery minnow from extinction would provide guaranteed year round streamflows of at least 50 cubic feet per second in the San Acacia reach of the upper Rio Grande. These added flows can be accomplished through reduced surface diversions by New Mexico water users in dry years when flows would otherwise be reduced below the critical level required by the minnow. Based on a 44-year simulation of future inflows to the basin, we find that some agricultural users suffer damages, but New Mexico water users as a whole do not incur damages from a policy that reduces stream depletions sufficiently to provide habitat for the minnow. The same policy actually benefits downstream users, producing average annual benefits of over $200,000 per year for west Texas agriculture, and over $1 million for El Paso municipal and industrial water users, respectively. Economic impacts of instream flow deliveries for the minnow are highest in drought years.

  7. COLUMBIA AND LOWER WILLAMETTE RIVER FEDERAL NAVIGATION CHANNEL, OREGON AND WASHINGTON (FINAL SUPPLEMENT TO THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT OF AUGUST 1999).

    EPA number: 030033FS, Volume I--192 pages, Volume II--578 pages, Volume 3--221 pages, Volume 4-368 pages, Volume 5--307 pages, January 22, 2003

    PURPOSE: The implementation of improvements to the authorized Columbia and lower Willamete Rivers navigation channel in Oregon and Washington is proposed. The study area includes 11.6 miles of the Willamette River below Portland, Oregon, extending from the Broadway Bridge at river mile 11.6 to the mouth of the river, and 103.5 miles of the Columbia River below Vancouver, Washington, extending from Interstate 5 at river mile 106.5 to the mouth of the river at river mile 3.0. The project would be undertaken to improve the deep-draft transportation of goods on the navigation channel (limited to a maximum depth of 43 feet) and to provide ecosystem restoration for fish and wildlife habitats. The need for navigation improvements has been driven by the steady growth in waterborne commerce and the use of larger and more efficient vessels to transport bulk commodities. With the increased use of deep-draft vessels, limitations posed by the existing channel dimensions now occur with greater frequency than in the past. Three structural alternatives, as well as the No Action Alternative and a non-structural alternative, were considered in the final EIS of August 1999. Structural alternatives include deepening the channel to 41, 42 or 43 feet, requiring dredging of 5.6, 11.5, or 19.1 million cubic yards, respectively. Deepening the channel to 43 feet would also require removal of 220,000 cubic yards of basalt rock and 450,000 cubic yards of gravel and boulders from six areas in the Columbia River and two in the Willamette River. In-water, upland and ocean disposal requirements differ according to the structural alternative considered. The final EIS also includes documentation in support of designation by the Environmental Protection Agency of new ocean disposal sites for maintenance of the Mouth of the Columbia River project, maintenance of the existing navigation channel, and implementation and maintenance of proposed channel improvement. Deepening the channel to 43 feet has to be selected as the preferred alternative. The cost of the preferred alternative was estimated at $188.6 million, and the benefit-cost ratio was estimated at 2.0. This final supplement to the final EIS addresses modifications resulting from consultations under the Endangered Species Act; updating of the dredged material disposal plan; and updating of information on project economics. Under the revised plan, no ocean disposal would take place until 10 years after initial project completion. Several additional fish habitat protection measures have been added, particularly with respect to salmonids. Estimated first cost and total average annual cost of the newly revised plan are $121.7 million and $11.2 million, respectively. POSITIVE IMPACTS: Expansion of the capacity of the channel system would provide for safer, more efficient transportation of goods within the system, enhancing the local and regional economies. Ecosystem measures would enhance fish and wildlife habitat. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Dredging activities would disturb benthic habitat and release sediment into the water column. Deepening the channel would lead to very slight increases in estuarine salinity under low river flow conditions. Upland disposal would displace vegetation and otherwise degrade wildlife habitat, including habitat of a federally listed endangered species, the Columbian white-tailed deer. Dredging would also have impacts listed salmonid species and salmonid species proposed for listing. Dredging and disposal activities would also result in minor impacts to aesthetics, recreation, and land uses, including agricultural uses. LEGAL MANDATES: Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-126), Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.),LPS Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), and Public Works Appropriations (P.L. 94-355). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft supplemental EIS, see 02-0460D, Volume 26, Number 4. For the abstracts of the draft and final EISs, see 98-0429D, Volume 22, Number 4, and 99-0429F. Volume 23, Number 4.

  8. ROOSEVELT HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN, GILA AND MARICOPA COUNTIES, ARIZONA.

    EPA number: 020486F, Volume 1--311 pages, Volume 2--341 pages, Volume 3--339 pages, November 26, 2002

    PURPOSE: The issuance of an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the Salt River Project (SRP) for the continued operation of Theodore Roosevelt Dam and Lake in Gila and Maricopa counties, Arizona is proposed. the dam and lake is operated by SRP in conjunction with three other reservoirs on the Salt River and two reservoirs on the Verde River. The project provides water for power generation, irrigation, municipal, and other uses as well as flood control storage capacity. Currently, SRP reservoirs supply water to more than 1.6 million people in the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tolleson, and Avondale. Water is also delivered to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Fort McDowell Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Buckeye Irrigation Company, Roosevelt Irrigation District, Roosevelt Water Conservation District, and others. The SRP reservoirs also provide a variety of recreational opportunities and environmental benefits, including fishery and terrestrial habitat enhancement, in central Arizona. The incidental take permit would address the take of federally protected species incidental to operation of the dam and lake. If the permit were approved, SRP would implement the Roosevelt Habitat Conservation Plan (RHCP) in fulfillment of the requirements of the ESA. The RHCP would provide measures to minimize and mitigate, to the maximum extent practicable, the effects of the operation of the dam and lake on protected species and their habitat and to ensure that any take of listed species would not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild. A candidate species would also be addressed in the event that species is listed in the future. The four species of current concern in the area are the southwestern willow flycatcher, the Yuma clapper rail, the bald eagle, and the yellow-billed cuckoo. Three alternatives, including the No Action Alternative (Alternative 1), under which the permit would not be issued, are considered in this final EIS. The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) would involve issuance of the permit, which would allow the continued operation of the dam and lake up to the maximum elevation of 2,151 feet, in conjunction with implementation of the RHCP. Alternative 3 would involve issuance of a permit authorizing the modified operation of the dam in order to reduce the short-term impact of reservoir operations on protected species and species that are candidates for protected status. POSITIVE IMPACTS: Continued operation of the dam and lake would ensure the provision of water for hydropower, municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes as well as for wildlife and fisheries enhancement and flood control. The extent of riparian habitat in the region would increase significantly. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: The plan would result in conversion of up to 75 acres of agricultural land or upland vegetation, and the associated wildlife habitat, to riparian vegetation. Lake fluctuations would result in periodic loss of up to 750 acres of flycatcher habitat, five acres of Yuma clapper rail habitat, and 313 acres of cuckoo habitat and could result in the inundation of two bald eagle nesting sites. Water level fluctuations would also degrade recreational experiences at the lake at some water levels. LEGAL MANDATES: Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Reclamation Act of 1902. PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 02-0403D, Volume 26, Number 4.

  9. Assessing multi-species recovery plans under the Endangered Species Act

    Clark, JA; Harvey, E

    Ecological Applications [Ecol. Appl.]. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 655-662. Jun 2002.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is relying increasingly on a multi-species, rather than the more traditional single-species, approach to recovery planning under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Supporters of the multi-species approach note potential efficiency gains in terms of biodiversity protection and agency resources. By the end of 1998, >55% of all ESA-listed species with recovery plans were covered within multi-species plans. A recent analysis found that species within multi-species plans are significantly more likely to exhibit a declining status trend. Given this finding, we compared single- to multi-species plans and found that multi-species plans reflect a poorer understanding of species-specific biology, are less likely to include adaptive management provisions, and are revised less frequently. USFWS guidelines recommend that species be combined into multi-species plans primarily on the basis of threat similarity. We developed a threat similarity index to evaluate the USFWS's conformance with these guidelines. Nearly half of the multi-species plans failed to display threat similarity greater than that for randomly selected groups of species. We advocate the explicit use of threat similarity analyses to identify appropriate groups of species for concurrent management, thereby maximizing benefits and minimizing potential drawbacks of a multi-species approach. We conclude that, as currently employed by the USFWS, multi-species recovery plans are less effective management tools than single-species plans. Given the increasing number of species covered by multi-species plans and the problems identified with these plans, we recommend that the USFWS reevaluate its use of the multi-species approach to recovery planning.

  10. Recovery plan revisions: Progress or due process?

    Harvey, E; Fagan, WF; Hoekstra, JM; O'Connor, RJ

    Ecological Applications [Ecol. Appl.]. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 682-689. Jun 2002.

    Revisions allow the recovery planning process for threatened and endangered species to be flexible and responsive to new information or changes in the status of a species. However, the Endangered Species Act defines neither firm criteria that trigger revision of recovery plans nor clear guidelines about how plans should be revised. Consequently, the effect of revisions in the recovery planning process is unknown. We examined how species and recovery plan attributes influenced the likelihood that a plan would be revised and how the content of plans changed with revision. Vertebrate species with designated critical habitat were nearly four times more likely to have their recovery plans revised than were invertebrates or plants without designated critical habitat. Nonetheless, recovery priorities assigned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) did not influence the likelihood of plan revision. Paired comparisons between original and revised versions suggested that knowledge of species biology and status had improved, and that recognition of threats had increased since the original plans were written. However, these improvements did not lead to recovery criteria or monitoring actions that were more clearly justified. We recommend that recovery plan authors strive to maximize benefits from improved biological information by defining management actions and goals that are more biologically justified. We also urge the USFWS to establish a consistent priority system for recovery plan revisions that affords consideration to listed species of all taxa and emphasizes revisions for those species most likely to benefit.

  11. A critical role for critical habitat in the recovery planning process? Not yet

    Hoekstra, JM; Fagan, WF; Bradley, JE

    Ecological Applications [Ecol. Appl.]. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 701-707. Jun 2002.

    The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) generally requires that critical habitat be designated for all species listed as endangered or threatened. However, it has been designated for only similar to 10% of listed species. Recently, in response to several recent court orders and settlement agreements that require critical habitat to be designated for similar to 300 species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to divert all available budget resources for 2001 to address the backlog of designations. This decision underscores a central question in the controversies surrounding critical habitat designation: How does critical habitat benefit the conservation and eventual recovery of listed species? Here, we examined how designation of critical habitat influenced the recovery planning process by comparing the content and characteristics of recovery plans for species with and without designated critical habitat. Critical habitat designation did not increase the availability of information on species' habitat requirements or increase the likelihood that recovery plans prescribed habitat management or habitat acquisition among the necessary recovery tasks. Recovery plans for species with critical habitat were not more likely to include habitat considerations among criteria for measuring recovery. Recovery plans for species with critical habitat uniformly ranked habitat concerns among the top threats to species and, on average, proposed a greater diversity of habitat monitoring efforts. Overall, however, we concluded that critical habitat designations have had negligible positive influence in the recovery planning process. We discuss possible explanations and suggest a standards-based system for designating critical habitat that should promote more effective contributions to recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.

  12. Use of tissue and sediment-based threshold concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to protect juvenile salmonids listed under the US Endangered Species Act

    Meador, JP; Collier, TK; Stein, JE

    Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems [Aquat. Conserv.: Mar. Freshwat. Ecosyst.]. Vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 493-516. Sep-Oct 2002.

    Under the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service has authority to protect listed species from any adverse actions that may jeopardize the population's ability to recover and increase to sustainable levels. Listed salmon species in the northwest United States are known to travel through urban areas in their migration from river to ocean. Species such as the chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) often spend several weeks in these urban estuaries where they can be highly exposed to urban-related contaminants that reside in the sediments and accumulate in their prey species. The concern is that these contaminants are bioaccumulated to levels that may impact the ability of individual salmon to grow and mature normally. This paper provides a framework for determining the tissue and sediment concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that are likely protective against adverse effects in listed salmonid species. The relevant ecotoxicological literature was examined and 15 studies were selected that met the pre-established criteria outlined here. For each study, the lowest tissue concentration (residue) of total PCBs associated with a biological response was selected. The tissue concentration associated with the 10th percentile of these 15 studies was chosen to represent the residue effect threshold (RET) above which wild juvenile salmonids would be expected to exhibit adverse sublethal effects from accumulated PCBs. This value (2.4 mu g PCBs g super(-1) lipid) is expressed in terms of the lipid-normalized concentration because of the large effect lipid can have on the expressed toxicity and the substantial variability in lipid content observed in salmonids over their life cycle. A sediment concentration that is expected to produce the RET was then determined using the biota-sediment accumulation factor approach. The sediment effect threshold, which varies with the total organic carbon content in sediment, is the level above which adverse effects may be expected in juvenile salmonids due to accumulation of PCBs from environmental exposure. Bioaccumulation of PCBs was examined in one river system as a model for determining an appropriate bioaccumulation factor for wild juvenile chinook salmon. Evaluation of exposure to potentially deleterious concentrations of PCBs based on tissue residues is the preferred approach; however, the sediment effect threshold may also be used in cases where bioaccumulation has been characterized in an estuary. The threshold values presented here are intended as interim guidelines that should be modified as more data become available. Additionally, because of the uncertainty around many of the factors and assumptions that comprise the single threshold effect values, it is recommended that future studies be employed to help determine a range of acceptable values that would afford protection under various environmental and biological conditions.

  13. Adaptive Management in Habitat Conservation Plans

    Wilhere, GF

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 20-29. Feb 2002.

    Habitat conservation plans ( HCPs) allow incidental take of threatened or endangered species in exchange for conservation measures that minimize and mitigate such taking. Habitat conservation plans entail a compromise between regulatory certainty and scientific uncertainty. This compromise is controversial because many HCPs are thought to inadequately address scientific uncertainty. Adaptive management is the systematic acquisition and application of reliable information to improve natural resource management over time. Ideally, under adaptive management, conservation strategies are implemented as a deliberate experiment. This approach can establish cause-and-effect relationships and point the way toward optimal strategies. Adaptive management has been promoted as essential to management under uncertainty, but few HCPs incorporate genuine adaptive management. Habitat conservation plans will continue to lack adaptive management until certain conditions are met, such as acknowledgment that an HCP is a management hypothesis, landowner interest in improving biological outcomes, and sufficient financial resources. Economic incentives would encourage adaptive management in HCPs. Habitat conservation plan permittees might receive direct payments or tax deductions for reliable information that benefits a species. "Mitigation credits' could be awarded for information produced through adaptive management. In effect, habitat would be exchanged for information that benefits a species. Successful use of mitigation credits would depend on correctly valuing information and enforcement of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Under a "precautionary polluter pays principle,' an HCP permittee would put up an environmental assurance bond. Portions of the bond are returned with interest as adaptive management demonstrates that environmental damages are unlikely to occur. Funds spent on adaptive management are funds unavailable for habitat protection, so limited financial resources may force a compromise between protecting habitat and acquiring knowledge.

  14. Spatial Patterns in the Abundance of the Coastal Horned Lizard

    Fisher, RN; Suarez, AV; Case, TJ

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 205-215. Feb 2002.

    Coastal horned lizards ( Phrynosoma coronatum ) have undergone severe declines in southern California and are a candidate species for state and federal listing under the Endangered Species Act. Quantitative data on their habitat use, abundance, and distribution are lacking, however. We investigated the determinants of abundance for coastal horned lizards at multiple spatial scales throughout southern California. Specifically, we estimated lizard distribution and abundance by establishing 256 pitfall trap arrays clustered within 21 sites across four counties. These arrays were sampled bimonthly for 2-3 years. At each array we measured 26 "local' site descriptors and averaged these values with other "regional' measures to determine site characteristics. Our analyses were successful at identifying factors within and among sites correlated with the presence and abundance of coastal horned lizards. These factors included the absence of the invasive Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile ) (and presence of native ant species eaten by the lizards), the presence of chaparral community plants, and the presence of sandy substrates. At a regional scale the relative abundance of Argentine ants was correlated with the relative amount of developed edge around a site. There was no evidence for spatial autocorrelation, even at the scale of the arrays within sites, suggesting that the determinants of the presence or absence and abundance of horned lizard can vary over relatively small spatial scales ( hundreds of meters). Our results suggest that a gap-type approach may miss some of the fine-scale determinants of species abundance in fragmented habitats.

  15. The application of the endangered species act to the protection of freshwater mussels: a case study

    Biber, E

    Environmental Law (Portland) [Environ. Law (Portland)]. Vol. 32, no. 1, pp. [91]-166. 2002.

    Freshwater mussels are the most endangered group of animals in the United States, and the success or failure of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in protecting mussels provides an important case study of the overall strengths and weaknesses of the Act. The case study is based on 1) interviews with United States Fish and Wildlife Service biologists in charge of enforcing the Act with respect to mussels and with conservation biologists who have extensively studied freshwater mussels, 2) recovery plans, listing documents, and biological opinions created by the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of its implementation of the Act, and 3) quantitative data on recovery and listing efforts for mussel species. Based on this data, this Comment concludes that the Act is being substantially under-enforced with respect to mussels, especially in the areas of designation of critical habitat and section 9's prohibition on takings, and that the Act has had very limited success in restoring mussel populations. These results are due to 1) delayed recovery efforts for many mussel species, 2) gaps in the law that leave species vulnerable to aquatic pollution, and 3) a systematic bias against the protection of invertebrates. The case study thus shows that, contrary to one of the standard criticisms of the ESA, the administration of the Act already prioritizes enforcement and recovery efforts among various species based on perceived social value. The stringent requirements of the ESA may be essential to ensuring that species such as mussels receive even the limited protection they currently enjoy.

  16. Monitoring black-tailed prairie dog colonies with high-resolution satellite imagery

    Sidle, JG; Johnson, DH; Euliss, BR; Tooze, M

    Wildlife Society Bulletin [Wildl. Soc. Bull.]. Vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 405-411. 2002.

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) warrants listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Central to any conservation planning for the black-tailed prairie dog is an appropriate detection and monitoring technique. Because coarse-resolution satellite imagery is not adequate to detect black-tailed prairie dog colonies, we examined the usefulness of recently available high-resolution (1-m) satellite imagery. In 6 purchased scenes of national grasslands, we were easily able to visually detect small and large colonies without using image-processing algorithms. The Ikonos (Space Imaging super(TM)) satellite imagery was as adequate as large-scale aerial photography to delineate colonies. Based on the high quality of imagery, we discuss a possible monitoring program for black-tailed prairie dog colonies throughout the Great Plains, using the species' distribution in North Dakota as an example. Monitoring plots could be established and imagery acquired periodically to track the expansion and contraction of colonies.

  17. Distribution and abundance of Snowy Plovers in eastern North America, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas

    Gorman, LR; Haig, SM

    Journal of Field Ornithology [J. Field Ornithol.]. Vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 38-52. Jan 2002.

    Snowy Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) are small, partially migrant shorebirds that are broadly distributed across North America. Snowy Plover distribution west of the Rocky Mountains has been well described. However, distribution and abundance east of the Rocky Mountains has not received much attention despite current status and ESA listing concerns for Snowy Plovers in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. Thus, a first step in developing a monitoring program for Snowy Plovers is to understand the species' distribution. We summarize information on distribution and abundance of Snowy Plovers in the eastern United States, Caribbean, and Bahamas. Breeding and winter distribution maps for the continental United States were generated from a database of 3563 records from 388 sites in continental North America constructed from International Shorebird Survey (ISS), Christmas Bird Count (CBC), unpublished field data, and published accounts. Comparison of maximum counts per site (1980-present) indicated the number of breeding Snowy Plovers was greatest in Kansas and Oklahoma, while the greatest number of wintering birds occurred in the Laguna Madre of Texas and Mexico. Snowy Plovers concentrate at sites in Oklahoma and Texas during migration, with higher concentrations on the upper Texas coast in spring compared to fall migration. Data regarding historic abundance and trends are limited but suggest that Snowy Plovers in the eastern United States may have experienced regional population declines and may have suffered a range contraction in Texas. Serious concerns about the conservation status of Snowy Plovers in the eastern United States, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas indicate an immediate need for systematic surveys and up-to-date population estimates.

  18. A Critique of the Recovery of Greenback Cutthroat Trout

    Young, MK; Harig, AL

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1575-1584. Dec 2001.

    There are no examples of recovery of fish listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, but the number of federally threatened greenback cutthroat trout ( Oncorhynchus clarki stomias) populations is approaching the delisting goal. We evaluated recovery of this subspecies in light of developing theory in conservation biology and with regard to recovery of other salmonids in the inland western United States. Four of the five criteria used to define populations that would count toward delisting appeared to underestimate the risk of extinction of those populations. Typically, recovery goals for numbers of greenback cutthroat trout populations were less stringent than those for other inland salmonids petitioned for listing or listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and were comparable to those for a federally endangered species. Before delisting is considered, we propose that historical populations be replicated in additional waters to protect genetic diversity and that existing populations be enlarged to reduce their vulnerability to demographic variation, to increase their access to refugia, and to permit reestablishment of mobile life histories. Existing stocks should also be evaluated to determine whether they represent distinct population segments.

  19. Implementing a study to determine the value of molluscan shellfish culture areas as fish habitat in West Coast estuaries

    Dumbauld, B; Armstrong, D; Roegner, C; Feldman, K; Loggerwell, L; Rumrill, S

    Journal of Shellfish Research [J. Shellfish Res.]. Vol. 20, no. 3, p.1196. Dec 2001.

    The ecological role of bivalve molluscs in estuarine systems has recently been recognized in other areas including Europe and eastern North America where studies have been completed and in some cases shellfish restoration efforts initiated. Comparable studies are lacking however from estuaries on the West Coast, where bivalve (particularly oyster and clam) aquaculture often dominates the intertidal landscape. Due to increasing interest, especially with regard to the potential impacts of oyster aquaculture activities on juvenile salmonids (driven by the listing of several stocks under the Endangered Species Act), we are initiating a study designed to quantify both adverse, but also beneficial impacts of shellfish farming on selected estuarine fauna and flora. We will focus our initial efforts on oyster ground culture and on eelgrass as benthic habitats given the extent and previously documented value of these habitats respectively. Field and laboratory objectives include: 1) utilizing remote sensing and ground-truthing to document annual variability in eelgrass cover in oyster culture and eelgrass meadows in Willapa and Coos Bay estuaries; 2) compare species diversity, density and biomass in culture areas as well as eelgrass meadows; 3) conduct field experiments to examine the impacts of various culture activities on eelgrass and associated infaunal and epifaunal communities; and 4) conduct surveys of fish utilization in oyster beds and eelgrass meadows. Finally, we hope to prepare guidelines to assist both shellfish farmers and estuarine managers in avoiding and/or reducing adverse impacts on estuarine habitat while maximizing the potential beneficial impacts of aquaculture activities.

  20. Implications of three viability models for the conservation status of the western population of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus)

    Gerber, LR; VanBlaricom, GR

    Biological Conservation [Biol. Conserv.]. Vol. 102, no. 3, pp. 261-269. Dec 2001.

    Two distinct viability models are developed for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) to evaluate the sensitivity of extinction risk to various levels of stochasticity, spatial scale and density dependence. These models include a metapopulation model, Analysis of the Likelihood of Extinction (ALEX; Possingham et al., 1992; Possingham, H., Davies, I.A., Noble, I. 1992. ALEX 2.2 Operation Manual. Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005; Australia.), and a model that incorporates both sampling and process error in estimating population parameters from timeseries data (Gerber and DeMaster, 1999; Gerber, L.R., DeMaster, D.P. 1999. An approach to endangered species act classification of long-lived vertebrates: a case study of north Pacific humpback whales. Conservation Biology 13 (5); 1203-1214.). Results are compared with a third model that encompasses three different geographic scales (York et al., 1996; York, A.E., Merrick, R.L., Loughlin, T.R. 1996. An analysis of the Steller Sea lion metapopulation in Alaska. In: McCullough, D.R. (Ed.), Metapopulations and Wildlife Conservation. Island Press, Covelo, CA pp. 259-292). The combination of modeling approaches provides a basis for considering how model parameterization and the selection of classification criteria affect both model results and potential status determinations. Results from the models generally agree with regard to central tendency, 25th and 75th percentile times to extinction. For Steller sea lions, the distributions of time to extinction for each model were narrower than the range of extinction distributions between models. If this finding applies generally to listed species, it would suggest that more than one viability model should be considered when listing decisions are made. On a more applied basis, the results of our analysis provide a quantitative assessment of extinction risk of Steller sea lions in the context of its status pursuant to the US Endangered Species Act.

  21. MILLENIUM PIPELINE PROJECT, UNITED STATES TO CANADA, INCLUDING PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK, AND NEW JERSEY (DOCKET NO. CP98-151-000).

    EPA number: 010379F, Final EIS--566 pages, Appendices--1141 pages, October 4, 2001

    PURPOSE: The construction and operation of natural gas pipeline facilities to transport natural gas from Canada to markets in the eastern United States, including New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are proposed by Millennium Pipeline Company, L.P. (Millennium). Millennium does not presently own any pipeline facilities but proposed to develop the facilities and acquire others from Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation (Columbia). Project facilities would transport up to 700,000 decatherms per day (dth/d) and provide firm transportation services for 10 shippers of natural gas service beginning on November 1, 2000. Millennium would transport 14,000 dth/d per day for customers on Columbia's existing Line A-5 pipeline. Two primary alternatives, the applicant's proposal and the No Action alternative, as well as subsidiary route and replacement alternatives, were considered in the draft EIS. Under applicants' proposal, the project would involve construction and operation of 373.5 miles of 36-inch-diameter mainline, 43.8 miles of 24-inch-diameter mainline, three measurement facilities, and associated pipeline facilities, including mainline and block valves, pig launchers and receivers, remote blowdown valves, and remote cathodic protection rectifier beds. The project would also involve abandonment by conveyance to Millennium of 6.7 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline and Rockland County that would be used for the new mainline system between mileposts 376.4 and 383.3 and 20.1 miles of laterals, 28 metering and regulation stations in New York and Pennsylvania, and one compressor station in Pennsylvania. Finally, the project would involve abandonment in place or by removal of 222 miles of Line A-5 in New York. Approximately 90 percent of the onshore pipeline route would be adjacent to or overlap with existing rights-of-way, such as rights-of-way for other pipelines or power lines. A supplemental draft EIS, published in March 2001, addressed potential environmental effects due to construction and operation of 22.7 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Westchester County, New York and five mainline valves. The supplement also addresses issues associated with the black dirt area of Orange County, New York; water resources, coastal zone management consistency; route alternatives at the Hudson River crossing; and numerous specific route variations. POSITIVE IMPACTS: The new pipeline would replace most of Columbia's aging Line A-5 mainline with facilities designed, operated, and maintained in accordance with current standards. Safe, efficient delivery of natural gas from Canada to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania would be assured. The applicant states that the pipeline would also provide greater diversity of supply for existing customers and a new source of supply for unserved markets and expand competition for emerging markets, including local distribution companies. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Pipeline construction would affect approximately 6,352.3 acres of land and water and would require a 32.9-mile crossing of Lake Erie (93.6 miles total) and a 2.2-mile crossing of the Hudson River in the Haverstraw Bay area. In addition to the Lake Erie and Hudson River crossings, the pipeline would cross 486 other bodies of water, of which 18 are more than 100 feet wide at the crossing location. Millennium would directionally drill the Lake Erie landfall and the crossings of the Chenango and Ramapo rivers. Approximately 421.1 acres of wetlands, including 54 acres of forested wetlands, would be disturbed by construction activities. A total of 217 residences would lie within 50 feet of the construction work area; of these, 82 are in Westchester County where the pipeline would be placed within the streets of Yonkers and Mount Vernon. Six federally listed endangered or threatened species could occur in the vicinity of the proposed facilities. These include the shortnose sturgeon, dwarf wedge mussel, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, bog turtle, and northern wild monkshood. Based on cultural resource surveys of 93 percent of the land segment of the route, Millennium identified 38 non-structural and structural sites for identification level surveys, and 44 sites for further testing to determine eligibility for their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Eight properties were previously determined eligible for listing in, or are already listed in, the National Register. Impacts associated with the issues considered in the draft supplemental EIS would involve 8.8 miles of roadside construction along U.S. Route 9. Construction would affect 136 acres of land, of which 22.1 acres would be forested land. The route would cross 31 water bodies, of which four are intermittent, as well as 12 wetlands though only 3.3 acres of wetland would be affected during construction and 2.4 acres during operation. Four federal- or state-listed threatened or endangered species were identified along the pipeline route, but no significant impact is anticipated. Four residences and 33 businesses would lie within 50 feet of the construction work areas. Recreational areas, National historic landmarks and properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places as well as cultural resource sites would be traversed. Other problems include construction noise as well as closures during construction would exacerbate in backups on a designated evacuation route. LEGAL MANDATES: Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717 f (c)), and River and Harbor Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401 et seq.). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 99-0223D, Volume 23, Number 3. For the abstract of the draft supplemental EIS, see 01-0125D, Volume 25, Number

  22. Why Listing May Be Forever: Perspectives on Delisting under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

    Doremus, H; Pagel, JE

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 1258-1268. Oct 2001.

    In the more than 30 years that U. S. federal endangered species legislation has been in effect, listings of endangered species have far outpaced delistings. Although it has been used by both advocates and opponents of conservation to criticize the Endangered Species Act, this disparity is neither surprising nor necessarily indicative of failure of the law. Listing typically reflects the effect of ongoing human activity on the species. Delisting therefore requires ongoing protective measures, which under current law are often effectively provided only by the Endangered Species Act itself. Consequently, lengthy and perhaps permanent residence on the list should be expected for the majority of species. Our analysis of the law and review of the limited number of delistings to date leads us to three conclusions: (1) delisting requires evaluation of the regulatory protections that will remain after removal of the species from the protected list; (2) lack of effective protection against important causes of species decline means most species will remain on the list forever; and (3) delisting should be undertaken with caution because the negative consequences of erroneous delisting generally exceed those of erroneous retention on the protected list. Overall, we argue that the limited ability to delist species demonstrates the crucial importance of the Endangered Species Act for species protection.

  23. Improving Peer Review of Listings and Recovery Plans under the Endangered Species Act

    Hecht, A; Parkin, MJ

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 1269-1273. Oct 2001.

    We discuss several challenges encountered in peer review of Endangered Species Act listings and recovery plans, with particular attention to Meffe et al. 's (1998) statement on independent scientific review in natural resource management. First, Endangered Species Act listing documents and recovery plans pose a diverse array of scientific questions, and we suggest that overall effectiveness of peer review may be increased by segregating the critical issues and identifying specific reviewers for each issue. Some scientific reviewers may be unfamiliar with the decision standards prescribed by the Endangered Species Act and implementing policies. Unnecessary confusion could be prevented by providing reviewers with information about these standards and by requesting that reviewers clearly differentiate their assessment of decisions that must be based on available information from recommendations for future research. Short review periods constitute another constraint on careful review, but tight deadlines are fairly intractable in the context of the Endangered Species Act. We suggest that short time frames could be partially ameliorated by narrowing the scope of issues to be treated by each reviewer, and we discuss the issue of providing monetary compensation for efficient review. Finally, Endangered Species Act listing decisions and recovery planning may profit from more frequent peer review of intermediate analyses that precede publication of formal proposals or complete plans.

  24. Developing Classification Criteria under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: Bowhead Whales as a Case Study

    Shelden, KE*; Demaster, DP; Rugh, DJ; Olson, AM

    Conservation Biology [Conserv. Biol.]. Vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 1300-1307. Oct 2001.

    Under the U. S. Endangered Species Act, a species is classified as endangered, threatened, or recovered based on the extent to which its survival is affected by one or more of five subjective factors. A key criticism of the act is that it makes no reference to quantitative or even qualitative parameters of what constitutes "danger of extinction. ' Without objective standards to guide decisionmakers, classification decisions fall prey to political and social influences. We recommend the development of species-specific, status-determining criteria as a means to rationalize and expedite the listing process and reclassification decisions, independent of the requirement for delisting criteria in recovery plans. Such criteria should (1) clearly define levels of vulnerability, (2) identify gaps in information on life-history parameters, and (3) address uncertainty in existing data. As a case study, we developed preliminary criteria for bowhead whales ( Balaena mysticetus). Thresholds for endangered and threatened status were based on World Conservation Union ( IUCN) Red List criteria and population viability analyses. Our analysis indicates that particular attention must be focused on population structure within the species to appropriately classify the degree to which one or more components of a species are vulnerable to extinction. A similar approach could be used in the classification of other species. According to our application of the IUCN criteria and those developed for similar species by Gerber and DeMaster (1999), the Bering Sea population of bowhead whales should be delisted, whereas the other four populations of bowheads should continue to be considered endangered.

  25. Estimating the Carrying Capacity of the Snake River for Fall Chinook Salmon Redds

    Connor, WP; Garcia, AP; Connor, AH; Garton, EO; Groves, PA; Chandler, JA

    Northwest Science [Northwest Sci.]. Vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 363-371. 2001.

    Recovery planning for imperiled populations of anadromous salmonids can require estimates of the carrying capacity of a river for redds (hereafter, redd capacity). We estimated redd capacity for the 106 known fall chinook salmon spawning sites in the upper and lower reaches of the Snake River. We used a modification of the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology to estimate spawning area (m super(2)) for 12 representative study sites. We estimated that one redd occupied 70 m super(2) of spawning area at the most heavily utilized site. Spawning area was estimated at the 12 study sites using a stable flow that was implemented to prevent redd dewatering, and two other flows that encompassed natural fluctuation. We estimated redd capacity for each study site by dividing the amount of spawning area modeled at each of the three flows by 70 m super(2). We input the redd capacity estimates for the study sites into the equation for a stratified random sample to make three estimates of redd capacity for all 106 known spawning sites. The estimates ranged between 2,446 and 2,570 redds. We conclude that the Snake River can support the 1,250 redds needed to satisfy Endangered Species Act de-listing criteria. However, annual surveys should be conducted to eventually determine if recruitment efficiency is affected by density dependent factors before the recovery goal is achieved.

  26. Forecasting global biodiversity threats associated with human population growth

    McKee, JK; Sciulli, PW; Fooce, CD; Waite, TA

    Biological Conservation [Biol. Conserv.]. Vol. 115, no. 1, pp. 161-164. Jan 2004.

    The size and growth of the human population are often cited as key factors in threats to Earth's biodiversity, yet the extent of their contribution to the endangerment and extinction of other species has remained unclear. Moreover, it could be valuable to know what additional threats may arise from continued human population growth. Here we quantify a model of the relationship between human population density and the number of threatened mammal and bird species by nation. Our multiple regression analysis revealed that two predictor variables, human population density and species richness (of birds and mammals), account for 88% of the variability in log-transformed densities of threatened species across 114 continental nations. Using the regression model with projected population sizes of each nation, we found that the number of threatened species in the average nation is expected to increase 7% by 2020, and 14% by 2050, as forecast by human population growth alone. Our findings strongly support the notion that abating human population growth is a necessary, if not sufficient, step in the epic attempt to conserve biodiversity on the global scale.

  27. Climate change in Australian tropical rainforests: an impending environmental catastrophe

    Williams, SE; Bolitho, EE; Fox, S

    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences [Proc. R. Soc. Lond., Ser. B: Biol. Sci.]. Vol. 270, no. 1527, pp. 1887-1892. 22 Sep 2003.

    It is now widely accepted that global climate change is affecting many ecosystems around the globe and that its impact is increasing rapidly. Many studies predict that impacts will consist largely of shifts in latitudinal and altitudinal distributions. However, we demonstrate that the impacts of global climate change in the tropical rainforests of northeastern Australia have the potential to result in many extinctions. We develop bioclimatic models of spatial distribution for the regionally endemic rainforest vertebrates and use these models to predict the effects of climate warming on species distributions. Increasing temperature is predicted to result in significant reduction or complete loss of the core environment of all regionally endemic vertebrates. Extinction rates caused by the complete loss of core environments are likely to be severe, nonlinear, with losses increasing rapidly beyond an increase of 2 degree C, and compounded by other climate-related impacts. Mountain ecosystems around the world, such as the Australian Wet Tropics bioregion, are very diverse, often with high levels of restricted endemism, and are therefore important areas of biodiversity. The results presented here suggest that these systems are severely threatened by climate change.

  28. Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore

    Brook, BW; Sodhi, NS; Ng, PKL

    Nature [Nature]. Vol. 424, no. 6947, pp. 420-426. 24 Jul 2003.

    The looming mass extinction of biodiversity in the humid tropics is a major concern for the future, yet most reports of extinctions in these regions are anecdotal or conjectural, with a scarcity of robust, broad-based empirical data. Here we report on local extinctions among a wide range of terrestrial and freshwater taxa from Singapore (540 km super(2)) in relation to habitat loss exceeding 95% over 183 years. Substantial rates of documented and inferred extinctions were found, especially for forest specialists, with the greatest proportion of extinct taxa (34-87%) in butterflies, fish, birds and mammals. Observed extinctions were generally fewer, but inferred losses often higher, in vascular plants, phasmids, decapods, amphibians and reptiles (5-80%). Forest reserves comprising only 0.25% of Singapore's area now harbour over 50% of the residual native biodiversity. Extrapolations of the observed and inferred local extinction data, using a calibrated species-area model, imply that the current unprecedented rate of habitat destruction in Southeast Asia will result in the loss of 13-42% of regional populations over the next century, at least half of which will represent global species extinctions.

  29. Biotic Globalization: Does Competition from Introduced Species Threaten Biodiversity?

    Davis, MA

    Bioscience [Bioscience]. Vol. 53, no. 5, pp. 481-489. May 2003.

    The introduction of new predators and pathogens has caused numerous well-documented extinctions of long-term resident species, particularly in spatially restricted environments such as islands and lakes. However, there are surprisingly few instances in which extinctions of resident species can be attributed to competition from new species. This suggests either that competition-driven extinctions take longer to occur than those caused by predation or that biological invasions are much more likely to threaten species through intertrophic than through intertrophic interactions. The likely threat of introduced species to resident controphics (species in the same trophic level) can be assessed with the help of existing biodiversity and extinction data sets and of two recent theories: (1) the fluctuating resource availability hypothesis, developed to account for changes in the invasibility of communities, and (2) the unified neutral theory, proposed to account for patterns of biodiversity at the community and metacommunity levels. Taken together, theory and data suggest that, compared to intertrophic interactions and habitat loss, competition from introduced species is not likely to be a common cause of extinctions of long-term resident species at global, metacommunity, and even most community levels.

  30. Save those molecules! Molecular biodiversity and life

    Campbell, AK

    Journal of Applied Ecology [J. Appl. Ecol.]. Vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 193-203. Apr 2003.

    1. Biodiversity involves diversity of species, genetics and habitats. But there is a fourth source of biodiversity - molecular biodiversity - without which evolution cannot occur, either in the origin of a new species, its survival and development, or its eventual extinction. 2. Molecular biodiversity is distinct from genetic diversity, though both ultimately depend on inheritable DNA. It occurs within one individual, between individuals of the same species, between related species, within and between phyla and ecosystems, and throughout evolution. There is also a crucial evolutionary role for `hidden' molecular biodiversity in `bad' genes. These highlight what Darwin and Wallace missed, the origin of a biological process, or a species. 3. Genetic engineering of bioluminescence, coupled with molecular imaging, has given us a wonderful technology for lighting up the molecular biodiversity of individual living cells, and even whole organisms. This has highlighted a major challenge - when is a biological process analogue or digital? 4. Synthesis and applications. The care of our planet, and ecology in the 21st century, depend on a new thinking based on molecular biodiversity. My go-home message is that ecologists must grasp the opportunities presented by advances in molecular and cellular biology. But, although molecules are at the centre of modern biology and medicine, science begins and ends with a curiosity about the whole - the cell, the organ or the individual organism, within a particular ecosystem.

  31. Reconciliation ecology and the future of species diversity

    Rosenzweig, ML

    Oryx [Oryx]. Vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 194-205. Apr 2003.

    Species-area relationships (SPARs) dictate a sea change in the strategies of biodiversity conservation. SPARs exist at three ecological scales: Sample-area SPARs (a larger area within a biogeographical province will tend to include more habitat types, and thus more species, than a smaller one), Archipelagic SPARs (the islands of an archipelago show SPARs that combine the habitat-sampling process with the problem of dispersal to an island), and Interprovincial SPARs (other things being equal, the speciation rates of larger biogeographical provinces are higher and their extinction rates are lower, leading to diversities in proportion to provincial area). SPARs are the products of steady-state dynamics in diversity, and such dynamics appears to have characterized the earth for most of the last 500 million years. As people reduce the area available to wild species, they impose a linear reduction of the earth's species diversity that will follow the largest of these scales, i.e. each 1% reduction of natural area will cost about 1% of steady-state diversity. Reserving small tracts of wild habitat can only delay these reductions. But we can stop most of them by redesigning anthropogenic habitats so that their use is compatible with use by a broad array of other species. That is reconciliation ecology. Many pilot projects, whether intentionally or inadvertently espousing reconciliation ecology, are demonstrating that it can be done.

  32. Climate change and habitat destruction: a deadly anthropogenic cocktail

    Travis, JMJ

    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences [Proc. R. Soc. Lond., Ser. B: Biol. Sci.]. Vol. 270, no. 1514, pp. 467-473. 7 Mar 2003.

    Climate change and habitat destruction are two of the greatest threats to global biodiversity. Lattice models have been used to investigate how hypothetical species with different characteristics respond to habitat loss. The main result shows that a sharp threshold in habitat availability exists below which a species rapidly becomes extinct. Here, a similar modelling approach is taken to establish what determines how species respond to climate change. A similar threshold exists for the rate of climate change as has been observed for habitat loss--patch occupancy remains high up to a critical rate of climate change, beyond which species extinction becomes likely. Habitat specialists, especially those of relatively poor colonizing ability are least able to keep pace with climate change. The interaction between climate change and habitat loss might be disastrous. During climate change, the habitat threshold occurs sooner. Similarly, species suffer more from climate change in a fragmented habitat.

  33. Increased Human Energy Use Causes Biological Diversity Loss and Undermines Prospects for Sustainability

    McDaniel, CN; Borton, DN

    Bioscience [Bioscience]. Vol. 52, no. 10, pp. 929-936. Oct 2002.

    Earth has entered or soon will enter the sixth mass extinction of multicellular life (Wilson 1992, 2002). Human activities are the primary reason. Many lines of evidence point toward this involvement, but here we consider a direct one. Our harnessing of energy sources other than our own has provided us with the means not only for creating modern civilization but also for taking a huge fraction of life's annual energy budget provided by plant photosynthesis. Vitousek and colleagues (1986) made the first detailed estimates of how much humans use, directly and indirectly, of the planetary energy budget: 27 percent of global net primary production (NPP) and 39 percent of terrestrial net primary production (tNPP). The flow of commercial energy, and the related confiscation of NPP, has an unavoidable negative effect on biodiversity. The loss of biodiversity in turn raises serious questions about the possibility of creating a durable global civilization. Perspective on the importance of energy flow is gained by comparing current energy flow with the prehistoric flow of energy through hunter-gatherer societies. When this is done, the current mass extinction appears as a predictable, expected result. Such a consequence provides sufficient justification for revising energy policies to reduce the amount and change the type of energy flow. The role of conservation in expanding biodiversity research

    Srivastava, DS

    Oikos [Oikos]. Vol. 98, no. 2, pp. 351-360. Aug 2002.

    It has been suggested that current reductions in global biodiversity may impair the functioning of ecosystems. This biodiversity-ecosystem function (BD-EF) hypothesis represents a new avenue of ecological research originating from conservation concerns. However, the subsequent evolution of BD-EF research has reflected academic concerns more than conservation priorities. I suggest three questions for BD-EF research, which would benefit both ecological theory and conservation. (1) Is biodiversity the main driver of ecosystem function? Several experiments show that biodiversity loss is a minor link between habitat change and ecosystem function. (2) How will extinction patterns change BD-EF relationships? Biased extinctions may have additional impacts on ecosystem function, which can be deduced by comparison with random-loss models. (3) Will conserving regional biodiversity conserve local ecosystem function? The answer to this question may differ between saturated and unsaturated communities, and may depend on whether the magnitude or stability of ecosystem function is measured.

  34. The role of conservation in expanding biodiversity research

    Srivastava, DS

    Oikos [Oikos]. Vol. 98, no. 2, pp. 351-360. Aug 2002.

    It has been suggested that current reductions in global biodiversity may impair the functioning of ecosystems. This biodiversity-ecosystem function (BD-EF) hypothesis represents a new avenue of ecological research originating from conservation concerns. However, the subsequent evolution of BD-EF research has reflected academic concerns more than conservation priorities. I suggest three questions for BD-EF research, which would benefit both ecological theory and conservation. (1) Is biodiversity the main driver of ecosystem function? Several experiments show that biodiversity loss is a minor link between habitat change and ecosystem function. (2) How will extinction patterns change BD-EF relationships? Biased extinctions may have additional impacts on ecosystem function, which can be deduced by comparison with random-loss models. (3) Will conserving regional biodiversity conserve local ecosystem function? The answer to this question may differ between saturated and unsaturated communities, and may depend on whether the magnitude or stability of ecosystem function is measured.

  35. Endemism, diversity, and the threat of tropical moist forest extinctions

    Kerr, JT; Burkey, TV

    Biodiversity and Conservation [Biodivers. Conserv.]. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 695-704. Apr 2002.

    Extinction rates have risen to perhaps 10 super(4) the background rate. Much of this increase is due to projected influences of habitat loss on regions of the world with tropical moist forest. This ecosystem, home to a disproportionate amount of global biodiversity and a major regulator of regional and global climate, also faces disproportionately severe threats. In this study, we collect diversity and endemism data for tropical forested countries of the world, along with areal and socioeconomic data. While a correlation between overall numbers of species and endemic species per country is expected, we demonstrate that endemism patterns among birds and mammals remain very strongly convergent even after statistically rendering all countries equal in size and overall species richness and after adjusting for spatial autocorrelation. On a per country basis, mammals are generally more threatened than birds in these tropical moist forested countries. Human population growth rates and rising debt among these nations should be viewed as priorities for amelioration by the developed countries. Reserve network extent is not related to numbers of endemic mammals or birds at this large spatial scale.

  36. Contribution of small habitat fragments to conservation of insect communities of grassland-cropland landscapes

    Tscharntke, T; Steffan-Dewenter, I; Kruess, A; Thies, C

    Ecological Applications [Ecol. Appl.]. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 354-363. Apr 2002.

    Habitat destruction and fragmentation of remaining habitat are major threats to global biodiversity. In this paper, we drew upon data from grassland butterflies, legume-feeding herbivores and their parasitoids, and the interactions between rape pollen beetles and their parasitoids in the agricultural landscapes of Germany to explore the following issues: (1) the relative importance of small habitat fragments for the conservation of biodiversity (in contrast to the prevailing arguments in favor of large fragments); (2) the disruption of interspecific interactions in fragmented habitats; and (3) the relative importance of the spatial arrangement of habitat fragments in landscapes of different complexity. The percentage of polyphagous butterfly species and their abundance were higher in small than in large calcareous grassland fragments, showing the relative importance of the landscape surrounding habitat fragments for less specialized species. A landscape perspective is also needed to explain why several small fragments supported more butterfly species (even when only endangered species were considered) than the same area composed of only one or two fragments. Analyses of insects on legumes showed trophic-level differences, in that species numbers of parasitoids, but not of herbivores, benefited from habitat subdivision in landscapes. As percentage of parasitism (i.e., the strength of ecological interactions) increased with fragment area, both the "several small" and "single large" strategies appeared to have merit. An intermediate-fragmentation strategy of habitat conservation in human-dominated landscapes may combine the advantages. Small habitat fragments should be scattered enough to cover a range of geographical area wide enough to maximize beta diversity and the spreading of risk, but with large habitat fragments close enough to enable dispersal among fragments, to reduce the extinction probability of area-sensitive species, and to stabilize predator-prey interactions. Parasitism of rape pollen beetles exhibited a distinct edge effect: it was higher near the crop field edge, i.e., near the parasitoids' overwintering sites (such as grassy strips). However, this was only true in landscapes dominated by annual crops; in landscapes with a high percentage of permanent noncrop area (>20%), such edge effects disappeared, presumably because of the high overall density of these parasitoids. These data indicate that spatial configuration is important to mitigate extinction risks when habitat availability in a landscape is low, whereas no effect will be observed when overall area of habitat is high.

  37. The biodiversity crisis: A multifaceted review

    Singh, JS

    Current Science [Curr. Sci.]. Vol. 82, no. 6, pp. 638-647. 25 Mar 2002.

    Biodiversity provides to humankind enormous direct economic benefits, an array of indirect essential services through natural ecosystems, and plays a prominent role in modulating ecosystem function and stability. Biodiversity is not uniformly distributed on the earth, and could comprise 5 to more than 50 million species. The current rates of species extinction are 1000-10,000 times higher than the background rate of 10 super(-7) species/species year inferred from fossil record. Today we seem to be losing two to five species per hour from tropical forests alone. This amounts to a loss of 16 m populations per year or 1800 populations per hour. The anticipated magnitude of species loss has drawn worldwide attention, fueling attempts to rapidly assess and conserve biodiversity. Key processes of speciation, endemism, coexistence, extinction, and differential vulnerability of taxa and habitats are not adequately understood. Accuracy of estimates of the total number of resident species and current rates of extinction remains undetermined, and the impact of species deletions on ecosystem function and stability is still a subject of debate among ecologists. In its own right, the study of biodiversity is assuming the status of an interdisciplinary science with a growing body of concepts, testable hypotheses, exacting methodologies, and internalization of aspects of human sociology.

  38. Endemism, rarity and vulnerability of marine species along a temperate coastline

    O'Hara, TD

    Invertebrate Systematics [Invertebr. Syst.]. Vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 671-684. 2002.

    The marine decapod, echinoderm and mollusc fauna from the State of Victoria, Australia, was systematically assessed for species that are potentially vulnerable to extinction. Species were identified that are short-range endemics, restricted to isolated populations, restricted to vulnerable habitats, or vulnerable to a rise in sea temperature from global warming. Of the 1650 species assessed, 3.7% were potentially endemic to Victoria, although many of these were known from few records and their described distribution may reflect collection or taxonomic artefacts. More species were restricted to vulnerable habitats: 0.7% to seagrass beds; 3% to embayments; 3.5% to the trawled area of continental shelf off east Gippsland; and 6% to the intertidal/shallow subtidal zone (0-3 m). Up to 14% of species are confined to the cool temperate waters of south-eastern Australia and could become locally extinct within Victoria from a sea temperature rise of 1-2 degree C. The potential for biodiversity loss from Victorian marine waters is discussed.

  39. Conserving Bird Biodiversity. General principles and their application

    CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 337 pp. 2002.

    The Earth's biodiversity currently faces an extinction crisis that is unprecedented. Conservationists attempt to intervene in the extinction process either locally by protecting or restoring important species and habitats, or at national and international levels by influencing key policies and promoting debate. Reliable information is the foundation upon which these efforts are based, which places research at the heart of biodiversity conservation. The role of research in such conservation is diverse. It includes understanding why biodiversity is important, defining 'units' of biodiversity, priority-setting for species and sites, managing endangered and declining populations, understanding large-scale processes, making predictions about the future and interfacing with training, education, public awareness and policy initiatives. Using examples from a wide range of bird conservation work worldwide, researchers consider the principles underlying these issues, and illustrate how these principles have been applied to address actual conservation problems for students, practitioners and researchers in conservation biology.

  40. Scale and species numbers

    Charles, H; Godfray, J; Lawton, JH

    Trends in Ecology & Evolution [Trends Ecol. Evol.]. Vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 400-404. Jul 2001.

    One of the main tasks confronting community ecologists is to explain why a particular site harbours a certain number of species. The site might range from a drop of water to the whole Earth, and the species might be drawn from a very restricted taxon or include all living organisms. The common problem, however, is to understand the relative importance of speciation and extinction and, more locally, of immigration and loss. Speciation is the ultimate motor driving biodiversity and ecologists need to know the factors influencing rates of speciation, and whether there is a feedback, positive or negative, between species numbers and the generation of new taxa. However, the relative importance of speciation and other factors determining species numbers varies crucially across different scales of enquiry. Here, we explore some of these issues as we move from a macro- to microscale perspective, focusing on a limited number of studies that we believe make important advances in the field.

  41. The biotic crisis and the future of evolution

    Myers, N; Knoll, AH

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA]. Vol. 98, no. 10, pp. 5389-5392. 8 May 2001.

    The biotic crisis overtaking our planet is likely to precipitate a major extinction of species. That much is well known. Not so well known but probably more significant in the long term is that the crisis will surely disrupt and deplete certain basic processes of evolution, with consequences likely to persist for millions of years. Distinctive features of future evolution could include a homogenization of biotas, a proliferation of opportunistic species, a pest-and-weed ecology, an outburst of speciation among taxa that prosper in human-dominated ecosystems, a decline of biodisparity, an end to the speciation of large vertebrates, the depletion of "evolutionary powerhouses" in the tropics, and unpredictable emergent novelties. Despite this likelihood, we have only a rudimentary understanding of how we are altering the evolutionary future. As a result of our ignorance, conservation policies fail to reflect long-term evolutionary aspects of biodiversity loss.

  42. The current biodiversity extinction event: Scenarios for mitigation and recovery

    Novacek, MJ; Cleland, EE

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA]. Vol. 98, no. 10, pp. 5466-5470. 8 May 2001.

    The current massive degradation of habitat and extinction of species is taking place on a catastrophically short timescale, and their effects will fundamentally reset the future evolution of the planet's biota. The fossil record suggests that recovery of global ecosystems has required millions or even tens of millions of years. Thus, intervention by humans, the very agents of the current environmental crisis, is required for any possibility of short- term recovery or maintenance of the biota. Many current recovery efforts have deficiencies, including insufficient information on the diversity and distribution of species, ecological processes, and magnitude and interaction of threats to biodiversity (pollution, overharvesting, climate change, disruption of biogeochemical cycles, introduced or invasive species, habitat loss and fragmentation through land use, disruption of community structure in habitats, and others). A much greater and more urgently applied investment to address these deficiencies is obviously warranted. Conservation and restoration in human-dominated ecosystems must strengthen connections between human activities, such as agricultural or harvesting practices, and relevant research generated in the biological, earth, and atmospheric sciences. Certain threats to biodiversity require intensive international cooperation and input from the scientific community to mitigate their harmful effects, including climate change and alteration of global biogeochemical cycles. In a world already transformed by human activity, the connection between humans and the ecosystems they depend on must frame any strategy for the recovery of the biota.

  43. Future eating and country keeping: what role has environmental history in the management of biodiversity?

    Bowman, DMJS

    Journal of Biogeography [J. Biogeogr.]. Vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 549-564. May 2001.

    In order to understand and moderate the effects of the accelerating rate of global environmental change land managers and ecologists must not only think beyond their local environment but also put their problems into a historical context. It is intuitively obvious that historians should be natural allies of ecologists and land managers as they struggle to maintain biodiversity and landscape health. Indeed, `environmental history' is an emerging field where the previously disparate intellectual traditions of ecology and history intersect to create a new and fundamentally interdisciplinary field of inquiry. Environmental history is rapidly becoming an important field displacing many older environmentally focused academic disciplines as well as capturing the public imagination. By drawing on Australian experience I explore the role of `environmental history' in managing biodiversity. First I consider some of the similarities and differences of the ecological and historical approaches to the history of the environment. Then I review two central questions in Australian environment history: landscape-scale changes in woody vegetation cover since European settlement and the extinction of the marsupials in both historical and pre-historical time. These case studies demonstrate that environmental historians can reach conflicting interpretations despite using essentially the same data. The popular success of some environmental histories hinges on the fact that they narrate a compelling story concerning human relationships and human value judgements about landscape change. Ecologists must learn to harness the power of environmental history narratives to bolster land management practices designed to conserve biological heritage. They can do this by using various currently popular environmental histories as a point of departure for future research, for instance by testing the veracity of competing interpretations of landscape-scale change in woody vegetation cover. They also need to learn how to write parables that communicate their research findings to land managers and the general public. However, no matter how sociologically or psychologically satisfying a particular environmental historical narrative might be, it must be willing to be superseded with new stories that incorporate the latest research discoveries and that reflects changing social values of nature. It is contrary to a rational and publicly acceptable approach to land management to read a particular story as revealing the absolute truth.

  44. Mammals on mountainsides: elevational patterns of diversity

    Brown, JH

    Global Ecology and Biogeography [Global Ecol. Biogeogr.]. Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 101-109. Jan 2001.

    The four major papers in this special feature present and interpret data from field studies on the distributions and diversity of small mammals in elevational gradients on mountains in the Philippines, Borneo, southern Mexico and western United States. In the introductory paper, Lomolino places these studies in the context of historical, methodological and conceptual themes in contemporary biogeography. In this final paper, I focus on some important similarities and interesting differences among the four case studies. All of the studies provide evidence for the influence of ecological factors, such as climate, productivity and habitat heterogeneity, on mammalian diversity. All also provide evidence for the influence of historical dispersal, extinction, and speciation events. Perhaps the most interesting result is the documentation of a frequent, but not universal, peak in species diversity at some elevation intermediate between the base and peak of a mountain. Efforts to understand the mechanistic basis for this pattern - and why it differs from the continuous decrease in diversity from the equator to the poles - promise to contribute to developing a general theoretical explanation for the major patterns of biodiversity on earth.

  45. Aquatic biodiversity - concept, significance and conservation.

    Sharma, R; Bhattacharjya, BK

    INFOFISH International. Kuala Lumpur [INFOFISH Int.]. no. 1, pp. 27-28, 30-32. 2001.

    Increased human intervention and escalating population growth are posing serious threats to aquatic biodiversity, causing concern among environmentalists, planners and the general public on the need for its conservation. The various types of biodiversity are briefly described and the significant benefits derived from it are listed. Many factors are posing threats to aquatic biodiversity either directly or indirectly. The main factors are: changes in land use; construction of man-made lakes; aquatic pollution; overexploitation of organisms; introduction of alien species; global warming and sea level rise; and, secondary effect of extinction. Creation of public awareness should form an integral part of aquatic biodiversity conservation; conservation efforts will not succeed without active public cooperation.