Learning from Endangered Species Recovery Programs: A Case Study Using U.S. Endangered Species Act Recovery Scores
25 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2006
Threatened and endangered species recovery programs consume increasing resources. Even so, there is increased concern about actual and projected biodiversity losses and in the success of recovery programs in reversing these trends. In this paper, we use a panel data set and ordered probit econometric methods to statistically examine the determinants of the 1990-2002 biennial U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recovery scores for up to 225 vertebrate species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. We find that species-specific spending is a significant determinant of species' recovery scores and that increased spending reduces the probability that FWS will classify a species as extinct or declining. The evidence does not support the hypothesis that increased spending increases the probability that a species is stable or improving. Other FWS' actions have significant and substantive influences on improved recovery scores. These include progress on or completion of a recovery plan and achievement of stated recovery objectives. We find evidence that species achieve better recovery scores if FWS considers them to have high recovery potential and that species whose recovery is judged by FWS to be in conflict with economic activity are more likely to be classified as extinct. Our evidence does not support the conclusion that critical habitat designation promotes species' recoveries or prevents species' declines. We also report a new finding that recovery success varies across FWS administrative regions.
Keywords: Endangered Species Act, endangered species, recovery plans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, biodiversity, recovery scores, critical habitat
JEL Classification: C33, C35, Q20, Q21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation