Introduction to Wildlife Management. Marie Bolt. Introduction. Wildlife: free-ranging birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles Not all wild animals and plants Not fish Not just “game” species Not just “nongame” species. Wildlife Management.
Wildlife management is the application of ecological knowledge to populations of vertebrate animals and their plant and animal associates in a manner that strikes a balance between the needs of those populations and the needs of people.
Wildlife management is not purely basic nor applied science, but uses both to apply an integrated approach to solve a given problem
Not a “cookbook” approach
Requires application of skill, knowledge and imagination
Early US/Colonial: game laws
1800s: Increased regulation of game
1900s: Gifford Pinchot “Resource Conservation Ethic”
1930s: Aldo Leopold, father of wildlife management, “Game Management”
1937: Pittman-Robertson Act, 10% tax on hunting arms and ammo for research and management by states
1970s: Environmental movement and Environmental Laws (NEPA, ESA, CWA, CAA, FIFRA, RCRA, CERCLA, etc.)
1980s: National Forest Management Planning Act
Late 1980s: Conservation Biology
Appropriate Management Option(s)
Best Management Action
Where do we want to go?
Can we get there?
Will we know we have arrived?
How do we get there?
What are the costs?
What are the benefits?
Will benefits exceed costs?
You can not increase the numbers of all species on every piece of land….when you manage for certain species, you manage against other species
Some Near Extinctions
Problems of Excess
God’s instructions to Adam and Eve were to “be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth on upon the Earth.” Genesis 1:28
Eliminate predators and competitors
Repopulate with domestic animals
Move “familiar” animals across the world
Privileged classes and sport hunting
To 1850, large population in American West, coexisted with humans
Provided food, shelter, bowstrings, fuel
Grass-bison-human food chain for years
6 million in 1860 to 160 in 1889
Small herds existed & replenished population
Man has moved animals from place to place across the world, either intentionally or unintentionally
Exotic wildlife may increase or fail to prosper
If they increase, many times they become nuisance species
Many examples on trying to control, “new immigrants” who alter the ecology of the habitats they are released into by fulfilling/displacing native species niches
1639, 1st closed season for white-tailed deer in Rhode Island colony (May-Nov)
Many laws to protect species including heath hens and passenger pigeons
No ecological considerations, no habitat protection
No preservation of food, cover, water
Not until 1900s did management occur
Mean No. Lost/100 Retrieved
Need to have neither extinction nor excess populations
How do we measure success, is 40 million ducks from 400 million a success or a failure?
Need to include the social dimension in answering these types of questions