A Framework for Developing Management Goals for Species at Risk with Examples from Military Installations in the United States
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A decision framework for setting management goals for species at risk is presented. Species at risk are those whose potential future rarity is of concern. Listing these species as threatened or endangered could potentially result in significant restrictions to activities in resource management areas in order to maintain those species. The decision framework, designed to foster proactive management, has nine steps: identify species at risk on and near the management area, describe available information and potential information gaps for each species, determine the potential distribution of species and their habitat, select metrics for describing species status, assess the status of local population or metapopulation, conduct threat assessment, set and prioritize management goals, develop species management plans, and develop criteria for ending special species management where possible. This framework will aid resource managers in setting management goals that minimally impact human activities while reducing the likelihood that species at risk will become rare in the near future. The management areas in many of the examples are United States (US) military installations, which are concerned about potential restrictions to military training capacity if species at risk become regulated under the US Endangered Species Act. The benefits of the proactive management set forth in this formal decision framework are that it is impartial, provides a clear procedure, calls for identification of causal relationships that may not be obvious, provides a way to target the most urgent needs, reduces costs, enhances public confidence, and, most importantly, decreases the chance of species becoming more rare.