Assessing the need for species conservation action in British Columbia


  • Fred L. Bunnell
  • R. Wayne Campbell
  • Kelly A. Squires


conservation priorities, peripheral populations, recovery plans, Species at Risk Act


Assessing needs for conservation action is a challenge anywhere, but will be particularly so in British Columbia. Relatively few North American recovery plans have succeeded. The great species richness and biogeography of British Columbia suggest that the province may be particularly susceptible to failure. The richness increases the number of species considered; the biogeography encourages small intrusions of species of greater abundance elsewhere. These intrusions receive an artificially high rating for risk, and thus for priority because factors that modify local rarity are correlated. Among taxa Red listed by the Conservation Data Centre, about 40-100% are peripheral. Species lists of the national Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada are also affected by bias resulting from peripheral ranges. We propose criteria for selecting species for conservation action that evade some of the past failings and more directly address global stewardship responsibilities.