Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Max Boykoff

Second Advisor

Dale Miller

Third Advisor

Valerie McKenzie


Abstract: Endangered species conservation is an extensive field, employing several different methods and varying in countless external factors. Vulnerable species are pit against some of the strongest forces of human development and losing some of these species to extinction may unfortunately be inevitable, despite conservationists’ greatest efforts. In their work to increase effectiveness in the field, conservationists should recognize which methods lead to greater success and adopt them when possible. To determine which methods yield greater success among endangered species conservation programs, this study analyzed 378 studies resulting from a Web of Science search, tracking the methods they employed in their conservation plans and the degree of success in their results. Chi-Square tests showed that although some methods were more prevalent than others among the meta-analysis results, no method significantly correlated with success of the programs. Then, the study analyzed a subset of species conservation projects funded by a small, grant-funding organization. Here, a four-criterion framework was established by which to evaluate the success of these projects and the recorded methods employed. Then the patterns of success and methods used were compared to those of the meta-analysis. Assessing whether projects among the case study and the meta-analysis were successful proved difficult because many reports lacked sufficient information regarding their results. This inability to fully evaluate the programs’ outcomes reflects a larger problem in the conservation field which must be alleviated if conservationists are to be constructive.