Threats to Canadian species at risk: An analysis of finalized recovery strategies

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In order to reverse the decline of imperilled species, we need to know what is threatening their survival. Canada's Species at Risk Act (SARA) is intended to provide for the protection and recovery of species listed under the Act. Threats to SARA-listed species must be documented in recovery strategies, which also define recovery goals and critical habitat. We reviewed finalized recovery strategies for 146 species to determine the major threats to these species and whether designation of critical habitat or the relative ambition of recovery goals is associated with the nature of threats. We then compared our findings to the threats described in reports prepared by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the independent body which prepares status reports for all imperilled species (including those not listed under SARA). Human disturbance, in particular due to recreation, was the most frequently listed threat in recovery strategies, followed by invasive species and residential and commercial development. Threats differed among taxonomic groups and broad habitat types, but there was no evidence that low ambition of recovery goals or failure to designate critical habitat were correlated with particular threats. However, species with certain threats, including biological resource use, were less likely either to be listed under SARA and/or to have a finalized recovery strategy once listed. Documenting threat-based differences in the recovery process is an important first step toward ensuring that SARA results in timely and effective measures to recover all listed species. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.




McCune, J. L., Harrower, W. L., Avery-Gomm, S., Brogan, J. M., Csergo, A. M., Davidson, L. N. K., … Whitton, J. (2013). Threats to Canadian species at risk: An analysis of finalized recovery strategies. Biological Conservation, 166, 254–265.

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