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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Behavioral Ecology of Disturbance Responses

  • Author(s): Beale, Colin M.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Measuring the impacts of anthropogenic activities on wildlife is crucial for ensuring effective management. Animal behavior is often considered a sensitive index of impact, but its use requires detailed understanding of the context dependent decisions animals make. In this manuscript I identify a number of areas where insights from the field of animal behavior are relevant to studies of human disturbance and activity. In particular, I differentiate between disturbance effects and disturbance impacts and show how context-dependent decision-making often makes animal behavior an unreliable index of impact. I show the areas where animal behavior can be useful in quantifying minimum disturbance impact when additional information is available, and identify a number of areas where further research may help improve the management of anthropogenic activities within wildlife areas.

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