Should the relationship between population viability and habitat quality prompt a paradigm shift in carnivore conservation: a case study with bears

Nevin, Owen and Gilbert, Barrie K. (2005) Should the relationship between population viability and habitat quality prompt a paradigm shift in carnivore conservation: a case study with bears. In: 16th International Conference on Bear Research and Management, 27 September - 1 October 2005, Riva del Garda, Trentino, Italy. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

For many species, reliable evaluation of foraging habitat requires measurement of a multitude of variables. Bears, however, provide a unique opportunity to integrate all these variables into a single measure: salmon consumption. As with Van Horne’s measure of habitat quality (Qj), consumption of salmon affects fecundity, age at first reproduction and survival probability. Our analysis revealed a highly significant (p=0.005) negative relationship between minimum viable population and food availability/habitat quality lending empirical support to the conceptual form of this relationship proposed by Van Horne. Understanding the relationship between habitat quality and minimum viable population has important implications for conservation area design and the dominant paradigm of carnivore conservation, which emphasizes large areas with little or no human access, may in fact be a poor model for conservation efforts. The historic emphasis on the need for large areas has led to the protection of low productivity sites. This study shows that changes in habitat quality have the greatest impact on the viability of populations in poor or marginal habitat. We therefore suggest that pursuit of the current paradigm through the preservation of large, low productivity areas will be insufficient to ensure the long-term viability of populations of large carnivores.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Science > Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies > Forestry, Conservation & Applied Science
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2011 16:18
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2017 06:12
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/931

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