A status assessment for wildlife species is necessary for many states in the United States with the authority to list species as endangered and threatened. Status may confer legal protection or conservation priority within a state. The methods used to define species status vary across states, but most rely on subjective determinations made by a group of experts. We adapted the Delphi Technique, a systematic method of reaching consensus, to achieve greater objectivity in determining the relative endangerment or stability of a species' population. We used the method to determine the status of birds native to New Jersey by having experts choose a status, enumerate their confidence in it and justify their choice, on forms via mail. We compiled results and sent them back to all participants to review the information anonymously provided by others and vote again on each status based on this information, as well as their own experience and opinion. We continued this process for 4 rounds, reaching consensus on the status of 91% of 283 species in breeding and nonbreeding seasons. We used the results to assign legal status of bird species in the state. We present this as an appropriate technique to attain greater objectivity in species status assessment.
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