RECOVERY OF SPECIES

Due to the extreme pressures many of our plant and animal species have been put under, governments across the world have initiated recovery plans to mitigate further loss. Recovery programs usually involve many aspects.  These can include:

  • Identification of threats to species
  • Identify specific areas/populations under threat
  • Identify critical habitat of threatened species
  • Monitoring threatened populations
  • Collect biological and ecological data (eg. use of habitat, population dynamics, movement patterns, identify important roost/breeding sites)
  • Maintaining or enhancing habitat for threatened species
  • Pest Control Programs (eg. weeds, disease, introduced wildlife)
  • Fencing of threatened habitats
  • Harvesting for genetic variation (eg. seed collection)
  • Captive Breeding programs
  • Translocation of populations or individuals if required (eg. frog species suffering local extinctions)
  • Community Education and Involvement
  • Review of recovery actions
 

Threat Management
Many governing bodies have initiated what is sometimes referred to as Threat Abatement Plans or Threat Management Plans to tackle particular threatening processes affecting vulnerable species. These plans will usually incorporate the following:

  • Outline actions to manage the threatening process
  • Explain how to measure the success of these actions
  • Identify authorities responsible for carrying out the actions
  • Provide priorities and timetable for actions as well as costings

For Threat Management Plans to work, it requires the cooperation and participation of Environmental Protection Agencies, other government authorities, corporations, organisations and the community.

 

Identifying Critical Habitat
When a species is listed as threatened, the federal government will usually charge wildlife biologists with the duty of determining the critical habitat for the species. Critical habitat is that which provides the elements that are critical for the success of the species.  These can be quite subtle and complex and require careful study and collection of biological information.

Critical habitat at a small scale can be difficult to identify.  However, it can become more problematic for larger animals and migratory species. Large animals can have home ranges that cover thousands of hectares (eg. the Asiatic Tiger).  They may also require different habitat types for various activities.  Critical habitat must include resources needed for hunting, mating and raising young.

 

Protecting habitat
Once critical habitat has been identified, it is up to the governing bodies to provide protection for this habitat.  If critical habitat occurs on private land, governing agencies will need to work in conjunction with land holders to ensure protection.  This might take the form of conservation agreements or incentives to protect habitat such grant schemes or rate relief.

As mentioned above, identifying critical habitat of large animals can be quite difficult.  Protecting this habitat can be even more of a challenge. Migratory species pose a difficult challenge when it comes to identifying and protecting critical habitat. Habitat needs to include both ends of their migratory path and the areas in which they stop and rest along the way. To increase the difficulty, many migratory species, such as the Gray Whale move between different jurisdictions and pass through international waters. The conservation of the Gray Whale’s habitat requires cooperation between state and federal governments as well as a large legislative effort based on sound biological information.