Ecological restoration through the management of hyperabundant wildlife: A 10-year review of predation, partnerships, and policies

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Emily Gonzales

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In Canada’s National Parks, some forest ecosystems are unable to regenerate due to hyperabundant wildlife, such as moose and deer, which consume and damage vegetation. As a result of this damage, habitat for insects, birds, and small mammals declines. Over time, hyperabundant wildlife can cause a cascading loss of species and ecological processes. Since 2008, reducing wildlife population densities through harvest improved the ecological integrity of national parks in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta. Supported by national policies and guidelines, the Parks Canada hyperabundant wildlife management program has also provided opportunities for meaningful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and local communities. Conflicting public values and politics have also presented challenges for these operations. This 10-year review evaluates the policies, engagement, monitoring, and implementation of the hyperabundant wildlife management program in Parks Canada. We found that the strength of the ecological response depended on the longevity and efficacy of the population reduction. Unexpectedly, controversy surrounding the population reductions generally centred around which stakeholder groups were involved in the wildlife management activities, rather than objections to lethal wildlife management in national parks. Key recommendations will be presented including: a) Use Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) designs to control for the effects of natural variability such as weather and insects, and b) When communicating with the public and stakeholders, focus on ecological restoration outcomes rather than on wildlife management.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration