ESA Recovery Units

First-ever mapping of recovery units designated for ESA-listed species.


In the context of the Endangered Species Act, recovery units are defined as “a special unit of the listed entity that is geographically or otherwise identifiable, and is essential to the recovery of the entire listed entity.” Rather than treating a species as a single entity, recovery units break up a species’ range into a set of sub-units.  Recovery actions and criteria may differ among recovery units, and the effects of actions that may harm a listed species can be evaluated relative to a recovery unit, rather than the entire species’ range.  Thus, recovery units provide a tool to make recovery planning and actions more flexible, with greater regulatory leniency in some units and more stringent limits on adverse effects in other units.  This map displays the recovery unit locations and boundaries of all 49 species for which recovery units are designated.

For other map products developed by our GIS team, visit Defenders’ main map page.


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