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Population momentum: Implications for wildlife management

Journal of Wildlife Management

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.2193/0022-541X(2006)70[19:PMIFWM]2.0.CO;2

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Abstract

Maintenance of sustainable wildlife populations is one of the primary purposes of wildlife management. Thus, it is important to monitor and manage population growth over time. Sensitivity analysis of the long-term (i.e., asymptotic) population growth rate to changes in the vital rates is commonly used in management to identify the vital rates that contribute most to population growth. Yet, dynamics associated with the long-term population growth rate only pertain to the special case when there is a stable age (or stage) distribution of individuals in the population. Frequently, this assumption is necessary because age structure is rarely estimated. However, management actions can greatly affect the age distribution of a population. For initially growing and declining populations, we instituted hypothetical management targeted at halting the growth or decline of the population, and measured the effects of a changing age structure on the population dynamics. When we changed vital rates, the age structure became unstable and population momentum caused populations to grow differently than that predicted by the long-term population growth rate. Interestingly, changes in fertility actually reversed the direction of short-term population growth, leading to long-term population sizes that were actually smaller or larger than that when fertility was changed. Population momentum can significantly affect population dynamics and will be an important factor in the use of population models for management.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Population momentum: Implications for wildlife management
Series title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI:
10.2193/0022-541X(2006)70[19:PMIFWM]2.0.CO;2
Volume
70
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
First page:
19
Last page:
26