ESR prepress abstract  -  DOI:

Associations between conservation actions, funding, and population trends for threatened vertebrate species

David Luther*, Katherine Gentry


ABSTRACT: There are more species threatened with extinction now that at any point in recent history. However, resources for species conservation can be limited, and awareness of gaps in knowledge and conservation action implementation is important when allocating funds and planning conservation efforts. Here, we explore the relationships between conservation action implementation, funding allocation, and population trends for all vertebrate species listed under the US Endangered Species Act. Most species had the same core suite of conservation actions implemented together, monitoring, habitat protection, and educational awareness. Our assessment of the effectiveness of funding and implemented conservation actions was otherwise impeded, however, because population trend information was lacking for so many species. For instance, we found that marine species received 3 times more annual funding on average than continental species and 10 times more annual funding than species that live on islands, yet the population trends for the majority of marine species are decreasing or unknown. Furthermore, the number of marine species with increasing population trends is not significantly higher. Thus, we conclude more monitoring and reporting is needed to improve population trend information before the appropriateness of funding allocation and efficacy of conservation actions can be properly assessed.