Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Often it is not recognized that the Endangered Species Act is ecosystem and habitat oriented. However, major sections of the Act focus on the conservation of ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend. As human population and consumption accelerates the fragmentation, alteration, and degradation of native ecosystems, our endemic species require more thoughtful and often intensive management. Consideration of ecosystem integrity in prelisting, listing, and recovery activities is of utmost importance in actually helping to conserve ecosystems and the diversity they provide.
Recognizing that several listed species may share geographic locations and/or face common threats, the Service seeks opportunities to combine several listed, proposed, and/or candidate species in one recovery plan. This approach, known as the "multi-species" or "ecosystem" approach, can improve the rate, fiscal efficiency, and effectiveness of recovery planning and implementation for listed species and may obviate the need to list candidate species.
Some examples of ecosystem-based recovery plans that have been prepared to address multiple listed species' recovery needs in a single ecosystem follow: