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Harvest and dynamics of duck populations

Authors


  • Associate Editor: Gary White

Abstract

The role of harvest in the dynamics of waterfowl populations continues to be debated among scientists and managers. Our perception is that interested members of the public and some managers believe that harvest influences North American duck populations based on calls for more conservative harvest regulations. A recent review of harvest and population dynamics of North American mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) populations (Pöysä et al. 2004) reached similar conclusions. Because of the importance of this issue, we reviewed the evidence for an impact of harvest on duck populations. Our understanding of the effects of harvest is limited because harvest effects are typically confounded with those of population density; regulations are typically most liberal when populations are greatest. This problem also exists in the current Adaptive Harvest Management Program (Conn and Kendall 2004). Consequently, even where harvest appears additive to other mortality, this may be an artifact of ignoring effects of population density. Overall, we found no compelling evidence for strong additive effects of harvest on survival in duck populations that could not be explained by other factors. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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