In September 1998, the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), with the full cooperation of USFWS, undertook a project to review and characterize existing recovery plans. The principal goals of the recovery plan review project were to compile an extensive detailed database on the content and characteristics of recovery plans, and to conduct quantitative analyses of these data to make useful recommendations for how the effectiveness and scientific rigor of recovery planning efforts could be improved. The project also provided a unique opportunity to undertake a large collaboration among graduate students and faculty at 19 different universities, and to facilitate communication between academic scientists and USFWS policy makers and resource managers.
The project began in September 1998 with development of a detailed questionnaire that was used as the primary tool for data collection. The data-collection Instrument (as the questionnaire was called) guided reviewers to consider and record data about a broad range of topics regarding the attributes and information contained in each recovery plan. General topics included: descriptive attributes of the plan and the species it covered; species biology; threats to the species; prescribed management actions; monitoring; plan administration, and; the criteria against which recovery would be measured. Recovery plans for 181 species were reviewed during the project. The sample represented about 20 percent of all recovery plans, and was stratified to include plans for different taxonomic groups (vertebrates, invertebrates and plants), revised and unrevised recovery plans, single-species and multi-species recovery plans, and plans approved over a range of years (1977 to 1998). After all plans had been reviewed and data compiled, two workshops were held at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barabara, CA. The workshops were attended by student and faculty representatives from each seminar group. The purpose of these workshops was to initiate analyses of the recovery plan database. This project successfully accomplished the most detailed and comprehensive review of endangered species recovery plans yet conducted, and produced a rich database of information on the content and characteristics of these planning documents. Analyses of the database have identified many positive aspects of recovery plans, and also suggested specific ways in which the recovery planning process could be improved. The database will continue to be a valuable resource for detailed quantitative information on recovery plans.
Abstract from http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/recovery/synopsis.html.
Data Set Creators:
NCEAS 2179: Boersma: Prospectus for an analysis of recovery plans and delisting
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Department of Zoology
University of Washington
United States; recovery plans for listed species under The Endangered Species Act.
Sampling, Processing and Quality Control Methods
Step by Step Procedures
Data collection instrument: questionnaire
Reviews of each recovery plan involved collecting detailed data about plan attributes, about biological information presented, and about the recovery goals, criteria, and tasks defined. To standardize the scope and methodology of reviews, reviewers used a detailed questionnaire that solicited more than 2500 specific data about each plan.