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Species management/ recovery plans

Actions taken to ensure the maintenance of viable populations are referred to as species management, conservation or recovery plans. Effective in situ conservation of a target species is dependent on the secure and effective management of the area(s) in which it occurs, yet management interventions at the population/species level differ from those needed to maintain the area(s) themselves are required.

This module present the aims and purpose of species management or recovery plans.

Components of a species conservation strategy

A Species Conservation Strategy (SCS) is a blueprint for saving a species or group of species, across all or part of the species’ range. The Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published A handbook for Strategic Planning for Species Conservation, primarily intended to provide guidance to IUCN/SSC Specialist Groups on when and how to prepare and promote Species Conservation Strategies (SCSs). A SCS should contain a status review, a vision and goals for saving the species, objectives that need to be met to achieve the goals, and actions that will accomplish those objectives’1.

1 - IUCN/SSC (2008) Strategic Planning for Species Conservation: A Handbook, Version 1.0, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland. See ‘Additional information’ below.

Conservation management/action plans

Conservation management plans should be prepared for those species requiring some form of management intervention to ensure the continued maintenance of viable populations. The plans are similar to species recovery plans, but the degree or intensity of management intervention is not as high, reflecting the lower degree of threat to the population(s).

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Recovery plans

Recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is arrested or reversed, and threats removed or reduced so that the species' long-term survival in the wild can be ensured. Recovery plans are used to stabilise existing populations, rejuvenate populations and reintroduce endangered species to locations similar to where they previously existed. The goal of a recovery plan is to return target species to levels where protection is no longer necessary.

Recovery actions are often challenging and costly and involve management actions that may need to be carried out over a number of years. Methods used to recover threatened target species include:

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The successful preparation and implementation of a management plan will involve a wide range of stakeholders. The local population must be fully consulted and involved to ensure their interests and concerns are considered.

An increasing focus on community-based conservation initiatives reinforces the emphasis that the broad participation of those most affected by such conservation and management interventions is required for success.

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