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Data from: Raising the bar: recovery ambition for species at risk in canada and the US

Cite this dataset

Pawluk, Kylee A. et al. (2019). Data from: Raising the bar: recovery ambition for species at risk in canada and the US [Dataset]. Dryad.


Routinely crossing international borders and/or persisting in populations across multiple countries, species are commonly subject to a patchwork of endangered species legislation. Canada and the United States share numerous endangered species; their respective acts, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), require documents that outline requirements for species recovery. Although there are many priorities for improving endangered species legislation effectiveness, species recovery goals are a crucial component. We compared recovery goal quality, as measured by goal quantitativeness and ambition, for species listed under SARA and ESA. By comparing across ESA and SARA, the intent of the study was to identify differences and similarities that could support the development of stronger species’ recovery goals under both legislations. Our results indicated that: (1) overall, only 38% of recovery goals were quantitative, 41% had high ambition, and 26% were both quantitative and high ambition; (2) recovery goals had higher quantitativeness and ambition under ESA than SARA; (3) recovery goals for endangered species had higher ambition than threatened species under ESA and SARA, and; (4) no recovery goal aimed to restore populations to historic levels. Combined, these findings provide guidance to strengthen recovery goals and improve subsequent conservation outcomes. In particular, species at risk planners should seek to attain higher recovery goal ambition, particularly for SARA-listed species, and include quantitative recovery goals wherever possible.

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