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Applications of Resilience Theory in Management of a Moose-Hunter System in Alaska

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Brown, Casey L.; Kellie, Kalin A.; Brinkman, Todd J.; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 20
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9781
Sector: Wildlife
Region: North America
Subject(s): moose
Abstract: "We investigated wildfire-related effects on a slow ecological variable, i.e., forage production, and fast social-ecological variables, i.e., seasonal harvest rates, hunter access, and forage offtake, in a moose–hunter system in interior Alaska. In a 1994 burn, average forage production increased slightly (5%) between 2007 and 2013; however, the proportional removal across all sites declined significantly (10%). This suggests that moose are not utilizing the burn as much as they have in the past and that, as the burn has aged, the apparent habitat quality has declined. Areas with a greater proportion of accessible burned area supported both high numbers of hunters and harvested moose. Our results suggest that evaluating ecological variables in conjunction with social variables can provide managers with information to forecast management scenarios. We recommend that wildlife managers monitor fast variables frequently, e.g., annually, to adapt and keep their management responsive as resources fluctuate; whereas slower variables, which require less frequent monitoring, should be actively incorporated into long-term management strategies. Climate-driven increases in wildfire extent and severity and economically driven demographic changes are likely to increase both moose density and hunting pressure. However, the future resilience of this moose–hunter system will depend on integrated management of wildfire, hunter access, and harvest opportunities."

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