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The Influence of the Academic Conservation Biology Literature on Endangered Species Recovery Planning

John Stinchcombe, Brown University
Leonie C Moyle, Duke University, Biology Department
Brian R Hudgens, Duke University, Biology Department
Philip L Bloch
Sathya Chinnadurai
William F Morris

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Abstract

Despite the volume of the academic conservation biology literature, there is little evidence as to what effect this work is having on endangered species recovery efforts. Using data collected from a national review of 136 endangered and threatened species recovery plans, we evaluated whether recovery plans were changing in response to publication trends in four areas of the academic conservation biology literature: metapopulation dynamics, population viability analysis, conservation corridors, and conservation genetics. We detected several changes in recovery plans in apparent response to publication trends in these areas (e.g., the number of tasks designed to promote the recovery of an endangered species shifted, although these tasks were rarely assigned a high priority). Our results indicate that, although the content of endangered species recovery plans changes in response to the literature, results are not uniform across all topics. We suggest that academic conservation biologists need to address the relative importance of each topic for conservation practice in different settings. [See Erratum]

Key words

conservation biology, conservation corridors, conservation genetics, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, influential papers, Population Viability Analysis, PVA, recovery plans
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087