A return-on-investment approach to funding allocation is needed to better cover the growing list of species, Gerber argues
Like endangered species themselves, funding to save them is scarce.
Humans — who because of our indelible impact on the Earth have an obligation to take care of it — must take a new approach to allocating limited funds to recover a greater number of species, argues Leah Gerber, an Arizona State University conservation biologist.
Currently, resources are insufficient to save all listed species. What is needed is a more analytical approach that can bring clarity and openness to resource allocation, Gerber says.
In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Gerber outlines how a return-on-investment model could be applied to the allocation of funds. By doing this, those in charge of saving species will allocate resources in a less arbitrary way.
Gerber reports that 1,125 species are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Funding of $1.21 billion per year should be allocated to recover all of the listed species, Gerber says, but less than 25 percent is actually allocated to recovery.
“The magnitude of issues influencing global biodiversity dwarfs the resources available to mitigate impacts and sustain biodiversity,” she stated in her article titled “Conservation triage or injurious neglect in endangered species recovery.”
Thus, she said, we are faced with making hard choices.
“What we need is a more objective and deliberate process to recover endangered species,” Gerber said.