An adaptive-management framework for optimal control of hiking near golden eagle nests in Denali National Park

Conservation Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Unintended effects of recreational activities in protected areas are of growing concern. We used an adaptive-management framework to develop guidelines for optimally managing hiking activities to maintain desired levels of territory occupancy and reproductive success of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in Denali National Park (Alaska, U.S.A.). The management decision was to restrict human access (hikers) to particular nesting territories to reduce disturbance. The management objective was to minimize restrictions on hikers while maintaining reproductive performance of eagles above some specified level. We based our decision analysis on predictive models of site occupancy of eagles developed using a combination of expert opinion and data collected from 93 eagle territories over 20 years. The best predictive model showed that restricting human access to eagle territories had little effect on occupancy dynamics. However, when considering important sources of uncertainty in the models, including environmental stochasticity, imperfect detection of hares on which eagles prey, and model uncertainty, restricting access of territories to hikers improved eagle reproduction substantially. An adaptive management framework such as ours may help reduce uncertainty of the effects of hiking activities on Golden Eagles

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An adaptive-management framework for optimal control of hiking near golden eagle nests in Denali National Park
Series title Conservation Biology
Volume 25
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Publisher location Hoboken, NJ
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Conservation Biology
First page 316
Last page 323
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Denali National Park