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      Predators and the public trust

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          Many democratic governments recognize a duty to conserve environmental resources, including wild animals, as a public trust for current and future citizens. These public trust principles have informed two centuries of U.S.A. Supreme Court decisions and environmental laws worldwide. Nevertheless numerous populations of large‐bodied, mammalian carnivores (predators) were eradicated in the 20th century. Environmental movements and strict legal protections have fostered predator recoveries across the U.S.A. and Europe since the 1970s. Now subnational jurisdictions are regaining management authority from central governments for their predator subpopulations. Will the history of local eradication repeat or will these jurisdictions adopt public trust thinking and their obligation to broad public interests over narrower ones? We review the role of public trust principles in the restoration and preservation of controversial species. In so doing we argue for the essential roles of scientists from many disciplines concerned with biological diversity and its conservation. We look beyond species endangerment to future generations' interests in sustainability, particularly non‐consumptive uses. Although our conclusions apply to all wild organisms, we focus on predators because of the particular challenges they pose for government trustees, trust managers, and society. Gray wolves Canis lupus L. deserve particular attention, because detailed information and abundant policy debates across regions have exposed four important challenges for preserving predators in the face of interest group hostility. One challenge is uncertainty and varied interpretations about public trustees' responsibilities for wildlife, which have created a mosaic of policies across jurisdictions. We explore how such mosaics have merits and drawbacks for biodiversity. The other three challenges to conserving wildlife as public trust assets are illuminated by the biology of predators and the interacting behavioural ecologies of humans and predators. The scientific community has not reached consensus on sustainable levels of human‐caused mortality for many predator populations. This challenge includes both genuine conceptual uncertainty and exploitation of scientific debate for political gain. Second, human intolerance for predators exposes value conflicts about preferences for some wildlife over others and balancing majority rule with the protection of minorities in a democracy. We examine how differences between traditional assumptions and scientific studies of interactions between people and predators impede evidence‐based policy. Even if the prior challenges can be overcome, well‐reasoned policy on wild animals faces a greater challenge than other environmental assets because animals and humans change behaviour in response to each other in the short term. These coupled, dynamic responses exacerbate clashes between uses that deplete wildlife and uses that enhance or preserve wildlife. Viewed in this way, environmental assets demand sophisticated, careful accounting by disinterested trustees who can both understand the multidisciplinary scientific measurements of relative costs and benefits among competing uses, and justly balance the needs of all beneficiaries including future generations. Without public trust principles, future trustees will seldom prevail against narrow, powerful, and undemocratic interests. Without conservation informed by public trust thinking predator populations will face repeated cycles of eradication and recovery. Our conclusions have implications for the many subfields of the biological sciences that address environmental trust assets from the atmosphere to aquifers.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Recovery of large carnivores in Europe's modern human-dominated landscapes.

          The conservation of large carnivores is a formidable challenge for biodiversity conservation. Using a data set on the past and current status of brown bears (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), gray wolves (Canis lupus), and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in European countries, we show that roughly one-third of mainland Europe hosts at least one large carnivore species, with stable or increasing abundance in most cases in 21st-century records. The reasons for this overall conservation success include protective legislation, supportive public opinion, and a variety of practices making coexistence between large carnivores and people possible. The European situation reveals that large carnivores and people can share the same landscape. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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            Measuring and monitoring illegal use of natural resources.

            Illegal use of natural resources is a threat to biodiversity globally, but research on illegal activities has methodological challenges. We examined 100 studies that empirically identify targeted resources, techniques used to procure resources illegally, locations of illegal activities, characteristics of typical violators, incentives driving illegal use of resources, magnitude of the problem of illegal use (e.g., quantities used), or frequency of illegal activity. We based our evaluation of the methods used in these studies on their ability to provide these empirical data, relative labor demands, training and technology requirements, and levels of uncontrollable bias. We evaluated eight different methods: law-enforcement records, indirect observation, self-reporting, direct observation, direct questioning, randomized response technique (a survey method designed to improve accuracy of responses to sensitive questions), forensics, and modeling. Different situations favored different methods, each with distinct advantages and limitations. Six context-specific factors-location of resource use (in situ vs. ex situ), budget, technology and training capacity, ease of detection of illegal activity, scope of illegal activity (limited vs. widespread), and researchers' willingness to accept bias in results-help narrow the choice of methods. Several methodological concerns applied to any study of illegal resource use: regular monitoring can detect trends; modeling can incorporate sampling error and data uncertainties; researchers must manage levels of bias that vary between methods; triangulation of results from multiple methods can improve accuracy. No method is a panacea, but a combination of techniques can help address the lack of data on illegal activity. Researchers empirically compared results from different methods in only four studies, and no one has compared more than two methods simultaneously. Conservation would benefit from more research focused on: methods comparisons that include cost effectiveness, time efficiency, and statistical rigor; unique applications of the eight techniques currently in use; and testing of new methods.
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              Effects of trophy hunting on lion and leopard populations in Tanzania.

              Tanzania holds most of the remaining large populations of African lions (Panthera leo) and has extensive areas of leopard habitat (Panthera pardus), and both species are subjected to sizable harvests by sport hunters. As a first step toward establishing sustainable management strategies, we analyzed harvest trends for lions and leopards across Tanzania's 300,000 km(2) of hunting blocks. We summarize lion population trends in protected areas where lion abundance has been directly measured and data on the frequency of lion attacks on humans in high-conflict agricultural areas. We place these findings in context of the rapidly growing human population in rural Tanzania and the concomitant effects of habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and cultural practices. Lion harvests declined by 50% across Tanzania between 1996 and 2008, and hunting areas with the highest initial harvests suffered the steepest declines. Although each part of the country is subject to some form of anthropogenic impact from local people, the intensity of trophy hunting was the only significant factor in a statistical analysis of lion harvest trends. Although leopard harvests were more stable, regions outside the Selous Game Reserve with the highest initial leopard harvests again showed the steepest declines. Our quantitative analyses suggest that annual hunting quotas be limited to 0.5 lions and 1.0 leopard/1000 km(2) of hunting area, except hunting blocks in the Selous Game Reserve, where harvests should be limited to 1.0 lion and 3.0 leopards/1000 km(2) . ©2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

                Author and article information

                Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc
                Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc
                Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
                Blackwell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                03 November 2015
                February 2017
                : 92
                : 1 ( doiID: 10.1111/brv.2017.92.issue-1 )
                : 248-270
                [ 1 ]Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison 30A Science Hall, 550 North Park Street Madison WI 53706U.S.A.
                [ 2 ]Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SE ‐ 73091 RiddarhyttanSweden
                [ 3 ] Research Unit of Biodiversity (UO/CSIC/PA)Oviedo University Campus de Mieres 33600 MieresSpain
                [ 4 ]University of Wisconsin Law School 975 Bascom Mall Madison WI 53706U.S.A.
                [ 5 ]University of Oregon School of Law 1515 Agate Street Eugene OR 97403U.S.A.
                [ 6 ] School of Environment and Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State University 379D Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Rd. Columbus OH 43210U.S.A.
                Author notes
                [* ]Address for correspondence (Tel: +1‐608‐890‐1450; E‐mail: atreves@ 123456wisc.edu ).
                © 2015 The Authors. Biological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Cambridge Philosophical Society.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Pages: 23, Words: 22340
                Funded by: Derse Foundation
                Funded by: Nelson institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
                Funded by: USFWS
                Funded by: U.S.A. Fulbright Commission
                Funded by: National Science Foundation (NSF)
                Award ID: DBI‐1052875
                Funded by: Mountain Social Ecological Observatory Network
                Award ID: NSF‐1231233
                Funded by: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for the Claws & Laws
                Award ID: NV‐ 06589–113
                Funded by: Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
                Award ID: JCI‐2012‐13066
                Original Article
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata
                February 2017
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:5.0.2 mode:remove_FC converted:19.01.2017


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