Management planning for Canadian species at risk of extinction begins with recommendation for legal protection under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and ends with Action Plans that guide management implementation. Roughly five years after the enactment of SARA in 2002, multiple studies identified taxonomic biases associated with the SARA listing process. Here, we provide a comprehensive test of whether taxonomic biases remain over a decade later. We also test whether biases in listing are propagated through to management implementation. We find that birds, reptiles and plants are more likely to be legally protected than other species. Arthropods and fishes are less likely to be protected, with unlisted fish species being twice as likely to be threatened by resource use than other unlisted species. We also find that arthropods and amphibians are less likely to have Action Plans than other species. In addition, we find no evidence that biases in listing or management have improved over time. Canadian species at risk recovery programs appear to be biased both in legal protection and management, disfavouring arthropods, amphibians and harvested fishes. If SARA is to fulfil its stated purpose, such biases must be directly addressed, through a transparent and formalised prioritisation system.

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Department of Biology

Creighton, M.J.A. (Maria J.A.), & Bennett, J.R. (2019). Taxonomic Biases Persist from Listing to Management for Canadian Species at Risk. Ecoscience, 26(4), 315–321. doi:10.1080/11956860.2019.1613752