David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile are research scientists with the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (PO Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220, Australia; Tel.: 02 95856504; Fax: 02 95856606; Email: email@example.com) Their programme of ecological research aims to develop new approaches and best-practice procedures for (i) the recovery of threatened fauna, (ii) the restoration of degraded habitats and impaired ecosystem processes, and (iii) the reconstruction of depleted faunal assemblages.
Key elements in achieving a successful recovery programme: A discussion illustrated by the Gould's Petrel case study
Article first published online: 30 APR 2009
© 2009 Ecological Society of Australia
Ecological Management & Restoration
Special Issue: Science supporting threatened species conservation
Volume 10, Issue Supplement s1, pages S97–S102, May 2009
How to Cite
Priddel, D. and Carlile, N. (2009), Key elements in achieving a successful recovery programme: A discussion illustrated by the Gould's Petrel case study. Ecological Management & Restoration, 10: S97–S102. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-8903.2009.00460.x
- Issue published online: 30 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2009
- adaptive management;
- Gould's Petrel;
- recovery plans;
- recovery programmes;
- species recovery;
- threatened species
Summary Surprisingly few faunal taxa worldwide have experienced an improvement in conservation status through direct conservation action. One of the few is Gould's Petrel (Pterodroma leucoptera leucoptera) – a threatened species that breeds only in New South Wales. In the early 1990s, the breeding population of this subspecies was small (<250 pairs) and declining. Each year, adult mortality at the breeding grounds exceeded the number of young produced. A recovery programme, focused on reducing adult mortality, commenced in 1993. As a result of the recovery actions undertaken, the Gould's Petrel is now increasing in numbers. Also, the rainforest where this seabird breeds is now regenerating after being degraded for almost a century by the introduced European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The creation of artificial nesting habitat and the development of effective translocation procedures have led to the establishment of a second breeding colony of Gould's Petrel, further reducing the risk of extinction.
In this paper, we explore the key elements we believe to be responsible for the success of this particular recovery programme: (i) a strong underpinning of robust ecological research; (ii) adaptive management; (iii) monitoring and reporting; (iv) a multidisciplinary approach; and (v) a willingness to accept risk. We conclude with some suggestions to improve the current recovery planning process.