Licht and colleagues (BioScience 60: 147–153) proposed a paradigm shift in wolf management to include the introductions of small, highly manipulated groups of wolves (Canis lupus) to confined natural areas to facilitate ecosystem recovery. Certainly, reductions or losses of apex predators from many regions worldwide have had profound effects on ecosystem characteristics (Soulé et al. 2003). Numerous efforts to restore or enhance predator populations through policy change or reintroductions have occurred, often with the intent to restore ecosystem function (Breitenmoser et al. 2001). However, in addition to the gargantuan technological and political challenges inherent in Licht and colleagues' proposal, we contend that intensively managed wolves will not restore natural ecosystem processes given the disparity in scale between these proposed actions and the ecosystem processes that wolves foster. Further, we note that predator-prey relationships are more complex than Licht suggested.
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Wolves will not provide small-scale ecological restoration