Timing of Protection of Critical Habitat Matters

Journal Article (Letter;Journal)

With many conservation issues requiring urgent action, determining how much data are needed to inform good decisions is a common problem. We examine this problem in relation to the protection of critical habitat, the habitat required for species’ recovery and persistence. The protection of critical habitat is an essential step in the threatened species recovery process. It is also one of the most contentious and protracted decisions faced by environmental agencies. Uncertainty about what constitutes critical habitat, and the challenges of balancing competing societal objectives and of protecting critical habitat once identified are stalling the recovery process. We offer insight into this challenge by investigating how long we can afford to spend identifying critical habitat before opportunities to recover a species are lost. We illustrate our decision model using Canada's threatened northern abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana). Our method delivers the stopping time at which habitat protection must begin, despite uncertainty, in order to avoid an unacceptable risk of extinction.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Martin, TG; Camaclang, AE; Possingham, HP; Maguire, LA; Chadès, I

Published Date

  • May 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 308 - 316

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1755-263X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/conl.12266

Citation Source

  • Scopus