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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Social and Ecological Dimensions of Vertebrate Management: Reintroductions and Invasions

  • Author(s): Hiroyasu, Elizabeth Himeko Torimaru
  • Advisor(s): Kendall, Bruce E
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

Conflicts between wildlife and humans continue to be a persistent problem across a wide spectrum of landscapes. In the body of work below, I focus on two classes of vertebrates in particular, invasive pest species and reintroduced species. Invasive species and reintroduced species are both species with which humans can conflict, which has profound consequences for the persistence of species across the landscape and long term human livelihoods. Populations of both invasive and native species typically exist at low densities at first, then establish, grow, and spread across the landscape. Both invasions and reintroductions can be strongly influenced by the human landscape and tolerance for the presence of particular species and their associated impacts to nature and their livelihoods. For invasive and pest species, opposition to eradication programs has the ability to stop or stall management, which has implications for the successful establishment and spread of an invasive species. Conversely, public support or opposition for reintroduction programs can dictate whether they happen at all. Understanding the human landscape of tolerance is important in understanding the success or failure of conservation programs more generally.

The body of work below focuses on both of these classes of species and examines different problems associated with each, using techniques from both natural and social sciences. The first three chapters of this dissertation focus on the ecological and social dynamics of vertebrate pest species. I begin by exploring the utility of barn owls to reduce and control populations of vertebrate pests in agricultural landscapes. Next, I examined case of the wild pig, first comparing the population demographic characteristics of wild pigs and second, understanding what kinds of message frames can increase support for invasive wild pig management. Finally, I used social science techniques to understand attitudes toward grizzly bear reintroduction in California.

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