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Survey method choice for wildlife management: the case of moose Alces alces in Sweden

Månsson, Johan and Hauser, Cindy and Andren, Henrik and Possingham, Hugh (2011). Survey method choice for wildlife management: the case of moose Alces alces in Sweden. Wildlife biology. 17:2, 176-190
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Official URL: http://www.wildlifebiology.org/

Abstract

We need to monitor wildlife populations to determine whether management goals are achieved and to improve future decisions. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the cost and accuracy of monitoring strategies in the context of management. Using a computer simulation of a harvested population, we tested the relative performance of three survey methods: aerial survey, pellet-group counts and hunters' observations, to inform about the management of Swedish moose Alces alces populations. Where more than one survey method was used in a single year, we used Bayes' theorem to combine information and estimate population size. We used two measures of performance: the fraction of time in which the population had an 'undesirable size and inter-annual variation in harvest. Furthermore, we traded these performance measures against their cost. An annual aerial survey was the most costly monitoring method (27,000(sic)) and maintained the population within the desired range 72% of the time. The least expensive monitoring strategy (hunters' observations; 1,600(sic)) maintained the population within a desired range of 66% of the time. A combination of two relatively inexpensive survey methods (i.e. pellet-group counts and hunters' observations; at an expense of 10,000(sic)) maintained the population within the desired range in 76% of the simulated years. Thus, a combination of annual pellet-group counts and hunters' observations performed better than annual aerial surveys, but was considerably less expensive. Furthermore, the annual combination of pellet-group counts and hunters' observations also performed best regarding the inter-annual harvest variation. Management actions only maintained the population within the desired range 81% of the time, even when population size was observed without error, mainly due to variable net growth rates. In wildlife management systems, where a variety of monitoring methods are used, the overall performance generally improves with monitoring expenditure, but very few studies explicitly account for expenditure. However, our study shows that combinations of inexpensive methods can reduce monitoring costs substantially while yielding an equal or an increased performance.

Authors/Creators:Månsson, Johan and Hauser, Cindy and Andren, Henrik and Possingham, Hugh
Title:Survey method choice for wildlife management: the case of moose Alces alces in Sweden
Series/Journal:Wildlife biology (0909-6396)
Year of publishing :2011
Volume:17
Number:2
Page range:176-190
Number of Pages:15
Publisher:Oikos Editorial Office
ISSN:0909-6396
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
Agrovoc terms:population distribution, wildlife management
Keywords:aerial counts, Bayesian updating, direct observations, pellet-group counts, simulation, surveys, trade-off, ungulate
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3767
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3767
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000293263100007
DOI10.2981/10-052
ID Code:13718
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 10:14
Metadata Last Modified:08 Nov 2016 10:14

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