As a federally threatened species, the desert tortoise's (Gopherus agassizii) recovery is required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the criteria established by the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1994) for delisting the tortoise from ESA protection, the species
as a whole will be considered recovered when tortoises have exhibited a statistically significant upward trend for at least one tortoise generation (25 years), enough habitat is protected to allow persistence, provisions are in place to maintain discrete population growth rates at or above 1.0, regulatory measures are in place to ensure continued management of tortoise habitat, and there is no longer reason to believe that the species will require ESA protection in the future. Just as species extinction can be thought of as the cumulative extinction of all populations, species recovery can be thought of as recovery of constituent populations; management efforts for recovery generally are implemented and assessed at the population level. A recent review of the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan, including an exhaustive literature search, has been compiled by the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Assessment Committee (Tracy et al. 2004).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaluation of evidence supporting the effectiveness of desert tortoise recovery actions