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The U.S. Endangered Species Act requires not only protection of all listed threatened and endangered species, but also recovery of species so that they are no longer at risk of extinction. Determining when species are recovered has proven to be difficult, in part because we do not know how to systematically measure the effects of the various factors that contribute to extinction risk. As a result, it is difficult to determine how much of those factors must be alleviated for species recovery.
My research seeks to measure the relationships between extinction risk and factors, such as species life history traits and human activities, to help improve recovery planning. For example, if species threatened by certain human activities such as logging are likely to have three times greater extinction risk than other species, they should require greater protection to ensure persistence. I am also exploring multiple ways to measure extinction risk, using not only demographic data but also geographic range and other data that may be more readily available.