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New Jersey Wildlife Action Plan Comment Form - Determining Species of Greatest Conservation Need

In undertaking the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) update, our first important step was to review the conservation status of New Jersey's native wildlife and determine which species are most in need of active support to ensure that they remain part of our biological heritage. These at-risk birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates are acknowledged as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) due to their low and/or declining populations and/or vulnerability to threats. Without actions to conserve them, SGCNs are likely to decline further over the next 10 years, possibly leading them closer to endangerment or extirpation.

SGCN List

To develop the SGCN list, all of New Jersey's indigenous wildlife species were evaluated using the best available assessments of their conservation status and trends within the state, the northeast region, and beyond. These mainly included state and federal listing status, status assignments by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), published evaluations by taxonomic expert groups, and taxonomic conservation plans that list or rank at-risk species based on a variety of vulnerability factors.

Around thirty such assessments, each with its own well-defined framework for evaluating and classifying the conservation need of the species that they cover. We examined each of the assessments and determined, for each, which of their classifications indicate a high enough level of conservation need as to warrant inclusion on New Jersey's SGCN list. These classifications serve as our SGCN criteria and are described in the table, Criteria for Selecting Species of Greatest Conservation Need (pdf, 265kb).

A species meeting any one or more of these assessment criteria is thus included on New Jersey's SGCN list. For example, any species that is state listed or federally listed (or a candidate for listing) will be considered an SGCN. Likewise, any species listed on the IUCN Red List as "Near Threatened" through "Critically Endangered" will be considered an SGCN. On the taxonomic level, any bird on a Partners in Flight "Watch List" or any insect on the Xerces Society Red List will be considered an SGCN, and so on.

Out of New Jersey's approximately 3,700 native wildlife species, 657 met at least one of the criteria to be included on the SGCN list. You may view the SGCN list and the criteria met by each species in the table of New Jersey's Species of Greatest Conservation Need (pdf, 720kb).

Back to Wildlife Action Plan (WAP).

Please use the form below to submit comment on Determining Species of Greatest Conservation Need only; there are separate comment forms for each aspect of the Plan. Make sure to complete fields that are designated as "* = required".
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Thank you for reviewing the NJ Wildlife Action Plan and submitting your comments.

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Last Updated: March 20, 2015