Back From the Brink: Refining the Threatened Species Recovery Process

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Sally Stephens and Stephanie Maxwell (Editors)
Australian Nature Conservation Agency, 1996
ISBN 0 949 32469 8

Keynote Address

Appraising threatened species recovery efforts: practical recommendations

Tim W. Clark

Conservation of threatened plants, animals, and ecological communities is a vital task for any country concerned with its sustainability, and given real world contexts, formulating and implementing management policy for sustainability are complex tasks. Three general aspects of current conservation and recovery operations need explicit, systematic attention and improvement. First, problem orientation is an essential task to help managers clarify the conservation goal, define problems with respect to goal attainment, and examine alternative ways of achieving the goal. A brief problem-orientation exercise is illustrated for sustaining biodiversity, and three principal strategies for meeting goals, science-based, practice-based, and prototyping, are identified. Second, it is necessary to establish a thorough, ongoing appraisal mechanism in order to learn systematically from past conservation experience and to make practical recommendations. Summarized here are about 50 appraisals of endangered species and biodiversity policies and programs, case studies, and recovery planning and teams. Third, it is essential to recast the challenge of threatened species recovery in terms of learning, at individual, organizational, and policy levels, as a basis for accelerating improvements. Recommendations are offered for developing a strategy to ensure the sustainability of biological diversity based on problem orientation, appraisal, and learning.