Surrogate species have been defined as species which represent other species or aspects of the environment and are used to attain a conservation objective. Throughout the literature, one of the statements made by many authors is that the use of surrogate species is necessary. Managers cannot identify the habitat and resource needs of every species in a landscape; monitor environmental or management effects on every species; or directly monitor all of the workings, interactions and threats in the environment, so using surrogate species becomes inevitable even when it is not explicitly recognized.
Inconsistent use of the terms, concepts, and definitions of surrogate species has created challenges for evaluating their usefulness and improving their effectiveness in conservation planning. There is much confusion and misuse of surrogate species terms, even within the scientific literature. Any use of a surrogate term should be accompanied with a clear definition. The most successful applications of surrogate species share (1) explicit goals for their use, (2) a careful selection process using well-defined criteria for achieving the stated goals, and (3) well designed monitoring for testing the efficacy of the approach used. In contrast, the main impediments to using surrogate species successfully have been (1) confusing terminology, (2) unclear objectives, and (3) incorrect or ambiguous implementation. For surrogate species to be effective, the concepts, goals, methodologies and specific applications of the different types of surrogate species used need to be explicit, and their intended objectives clear and measurable.Keyword Tags: