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Terminology

To aid in conservation planning, fish and wildlife species are assigned priorities based on their outlook for long-term population viability. This process began with Alabama’s Second Nongame Wildlife Conference in July 2002 and the resulting publication of Alabama Wildlife, which prioritized all species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mussels and aquatic snails. These priorities were reviewed and updated during the development of the Alabama Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, which extended species coverage to include crayfishes. Priorities are assigned to each species based on the following criteria:

  • Extinct - species that historically occurred in Alabama, but are no longer alive anywhere within their former distribution.
  • Extirpated - species that historically occurred in Alabama, but are now absent; may be rediscovered in the state, or be reintroduced from populations existing outside the state.
  • Extirpated/Conservation Action Underway - species that historically occurred in Alabama, were absent for a period of time, and currently are being reintroduced, or have a plan for being reintroduced, into the state from populations outside the state.
  • Highest Conservation Concern (Priority 1) - species critically imperiled and at risk of extinction/extirpation because of extreme rarity, restricted distribution, decreasing population trend/population viability problems, and specialized habitat needs/habitat vulnerability due to natural/human-caused factors. Immediate research and/or conservation action required.
  • High Conservation Concern (Priority 2) - species imperiled because of three of four of the following: rarity; very limited, disjunct, or peripheral distribution; decreasing population trend/population viability problems; specialized habitat needs/habitat vulnerability due to natural/human-caused factors. Timely research and/or conservation action needed.
  • Moderate Conservation Concern (Priority 3) - species with conservation problems because of insufficient data or because of two of four of the following: small populations; limited, disjunct, or peripheral distribution; decreasing population trend/population viability problems; specialized habitat needs/habitat vulnerability due to natural/human-caused factors. Research and/or conservation action recommended.
  • Low Conservation Concern (Priority 4) - species that are secure, yet conservation concerns exist because of one of four of the following: relative abundance; limited, disjunct, or peripheral distribution; decreasing population trend/population viability problems; specialized habitat needs/increasing habitat vulnerability due to natural/human-caused factors. Research on specific problem suggested.
  • Lowest Conservation Concern (Priority 5) - species that are demonstrably secure, with size of population stable/increasing, geographical distribution stable/expanding, population trend/ population viability stable/increasing, relatively limited habitat vulnerability due to natural/ human caused factors, or an unusual visitor to the state. No specific monitoring or conservation action needed.

 


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