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Alaska EPSCoR AHM May 27, 2010 Shannon Donovan University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Geography and Environmental Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Alaska EPSCoR AHM May 27, 2010 Shannon Donovan University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Geography and Environmental Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alaska EPSCoR AHM May 27, 2010 Shannon Donovan University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

2 The Issues: They are Complex Predator control occurs across many Northwest states and Alaska Gray wolves were delisted from the Federal ESA Prey (caribou and moose) populations seem to be decreasing/fluctuating in some areas Different management strategies employed on different land types and by different agencies Problematic for sport and subsistence hunting Little is known/agreed upon about existing numbers of predators and prey Highly controversial topic Need for biological, economical and social baseline data

3 Bringing Together an Interdisciplinary Team To date, several folks have met to develop an interdisciplinary project focused on predator/prey management issues. Matt Berman, UAA ISER Shannon Donovan UAA Julie Lurman Joly, UAF Don Spalinger, UAA Toby Schwörer, UAA ISER Jeff Welker, UAA ENRI Discussed needs, resources and opportunities as well as the challenges of addressing predator management in Alaska.

4 Wolves, Bears, and Their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management. Report by the National Research Council in 1997 Provides 17 conclusions and recommendations for moving forward Many of these recommendations have not been followed up on as of yet Need and opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary approach for collecting baseline data

5 Habitat availability and quality need to be better understood Increase coordination across agencies to better understand predator-prey relationships across landscapes Assess full economic costs and benefits of predator management programs Manage and monitor predators and prey using adaptive management strategies Increase understanding of social values Develop a framework for incorporating public opinion Create and implement conflict resolution strategies Select Recommendations: Coordinate and Cooperate

6 Alaska Residents’ Attitudes toward Predator Management Statewide in Unit 13 Study conducted by Cornell for ADF&G in 2003 Random sample of 1300 households statewide and 1300 in Unit 13 Among other things, the study assessed public acceptance of predator control Study shows public acceptance is conditional “when predation reduces prey populations to the point that some local residents who rely on game for food are unable to find moose or caribou to hunt” Study also suggests public interest in increasing prey is greater than their interest in decreasing predators

7 Umbrella Research Question Under what conditions does predator control make social and ecological systems more resilient?

8 Sub-Topics Predator-prey relationships Carrying capacity (habitat) Migration (in and out of local areas and across land types) Fire and fire management Predator management and policies: different rules in different lands Public opinions and stakeholder values Rule making processes

9 What are the optimal predator and prey harvest rates that maximize long term social net benefits? How effective is predator control in selected study areas? What are the economic benefits and costs of predator control versus what they could be under ecosystem-based management? To what degree are prey populations changing at regional levels? How do population changes coincide with other factors? How can social and ecological changes be monitored at a landscape level – to what degree can spatial mapping help better understand systems? What are the range of factors affecting prey populations? How important are predators in shaping sense of place? How can lessons learned about predator management in the North be applied to other areas -like WY, ID and MT? What strategies can be employed to reduce stakeholder conflict?

10 Other potential ideas Assess impacts of predator management and reduced prey on native communities Incorporate local knowledge into adaptive management strategies Look at the impact of climate change on prey movement Modeling changes in predator- prey relationships

11 Approach Assess impacts of predator management and prey availability across landscapes Identify what is already known and gaps in the knowledge Develop intensive case studies in varying geographic regions Generate baseline data sets Bring stakeholders together Develop plausible strategies for effectively monitoring and managing predators and prey

12 Hopeful Outcomes Provide managers and policymakers with relatively objective data needed to solve a complex bio-social problem Create a framework for collaboration across landscapes Create a framework for collaboration across agencies Understand public values regarding predator management Identify true costs and benefits of predator management Develop a successful models that can be implemented in other regions

13 Potential Funding NSF Dynamics of coupled human and natural systems (Nov. deadline) ARCSS (Dec. deadline) National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Nov. deadline) Federal initiatives/earmarks

14 Shannon Donovan


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