Recommendations for Assessing the Effectiveness of Surrogate Species Approaches

Abstract

Surrogate species approaches, including flagship, focal, keystone, indicator, and umbrella, are considered an effective means of conservation planning. For conservation biologists to apply surrogates with confidence, they must have some idea of the effectiveness of surrogates for the circumstances in which they will be applied. We reviewed tests of the effectiveness of surrogate species planning to see if research supports the development of generalized rules for (1) determining when and where surrogate species are an effective conservation tool and (2) how surrogate species should be selected such that the resulting conservation plan will effectively protect biodiversity or achieve other conservation goals. The context and methods of published studies were so diverse that we could not draw general conclusions about the spatial or temporal scales, or ecosystems or taxonomic groups for which surrogate species approaches will succeed. The science of surrogate species can progress by (1) establishing methods to compare diverse measures of effectiveness; (2) taking advantage of data-rich regions to examine the potential effectiveness of surrogate approaches; (3) incorporating spatial scale as an explanatory variable; (4) evaluating surrogate species approaches at broader temporal scales; (5) seeking patterns that will lead to hypothesis driven research; and (6) monitoring surrogate species and their target species.

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Correspondence to Jorie M. Favreau.

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Favreau, J.M., Drew, C.A., Hess, G.R. et al. Recommendations for Assessing the Effectiveness of Surrogate Species Approaches. Biodivers Conserv 15, 3949–3969 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-005-2631-1

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Keywords

  • Effectiveness
  • Flagship species
  • Focal species
  • Indicator species
  • Keystone species
  • Surrogate species
  • Umbrella species