• Threatened species;
  • threats;
  • population paradigms;
  • recovery priorities;
  • cost-effectiveness


Recovering threatened species is a key challenge for conservation managers, policy makers, and researchers. This article describes a practical framework for assigning priorities for recovery of threatened species according to cost-effectiveness of recovery strategies for species groups. The framework has the following steps: (1) determine the conservation goal—persistence in the wild of the largest number of threatened species with the funds available; (2) assign threatened species to species recovery groups according to their characteristics and threats—small-population species that require actions at sites and declining-population species that require actions across landscapes; (3) identify the recovery strategies and their component actions for the species groups; (4) cost the recovery strategies for the species groups; (5) determine the cost-effectiveness of the recovery strategies for the species groups—the number of species recovered divided by the cost of the strategies; (6) assign priorities to the recovery strategies according to their cost-effectiveness; (7) allocate funds to the recovery strategies that maximize the number of threatened species recovered for the funds available; and (8) undertake the funded recovery strategies and actions. The framework is illustrated with an example.