Abstract: Budget constraints require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prioritize species for recovery spending. Each listed species is ranked according to the degree of threat it faces, its recovery potential, and its taxonomic distinctness. We analyzed state and federal government expenditures for recovery of threatened and endangered birds (n = 85 species) from 1992 to 1995 to determine if the priority system was being followed. Although recovery spending correlated with priority rank, priority rank explained <5% of the variation in spending. A small number of the same moderately ranked species dominated expenditures each year (41–79% of total annual budgets). Species with wide distributions, high recovery potential, and captive breeding programs received the most funding, and more funding than their priority ranks dictated. Island species received significantly less funding than expected based on priority rank. Twelve species, 10 of which resided on islands, received <$5000 at least once from 1992 to 1995. Recovery spending was unrelated to degree of threat, taxonomic distinctness, and migratory status. There also was no relationship between land‐purchase expenditures and priority ranks. To improve the relationship between recovery spending on threatened and endangered birds and their priority rank, significant changes need to be made within the private sector ( less litigation and special‐interest lobbying ), U.S. Congress (increased budget and reduced earmarking ), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (restructuring of regional offices and increased accountability).
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Oct 20, 2001
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