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Identifying Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) is a required component of the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN represent species whose populations are declining or who have limited abundance in the state. The SGCN list is indicative of the diversity of fish and wildlife in Indiana, with over 140 species included.
SGCN were identified utilizing the most current published list of federally endangered, threatened or candidate species and Indiana’s list of state endangered and special concern fish and wildlife species. These species were cross-referenced with the Indiana Academy of Science Revised Checklist of the Vertebrates of Indiana for species range, relative abundance, season, and status. The state list of endangered and special concern species are reviewed and updated periodically, using expertise from scientists who study these species within the state. Data were collected for representative species in all habitats that contained SGCN. This allows the habitat information to be used to infer conservation needs for SGCN. This will be especially significant for SGCN for which little information is currently known. Habitat conservation efforts that benefit SGCN will also benefit all other wildlife in those habitats.
Every species in Indiana was identified to be a part of a guild to utilize the habitat-model approach. The species were picked based on biological features and whether constituents would recognize them as representative of the guild. The selected species “painted a reasonable mental picture of the associated habitat type” when presented to a diverse user group including biologists, the public, legislators, grant reviewers and other partners. Representative species also were used as mental tools to focus technical expert input on particular relationships between species and their habitats. Species and guilds are found in Appendix C – Guilds of the Indiana Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy.