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Keywords:

  • density dependence;
  • harvest;
  • inversity;
  • logistic growth;
  • ungulates;
  • upland game birds

Abstract

Knowledge of density-dependent processes is regarded as important for making decisions on the management of wildlife populations. Using published data on ungulates and upland game birds, we discuss density-dependent effects on population growth, harvest management under the logistic model, and management to increase or decrease survival and production. Empirical data show density-dependent growth for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), and northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), although the logistic model provided, at best, an approximation of growth. Managing harvest according to logistic theory is rare for ungulates and upland game; we suspect this owes to scarce data on population growth and complexity in density-dependent processes. Under density dependence, managing to increase production or survival may be self-defeating because an increase in 1 demographic variable entails a decrease in the other for sustaining populations (λ = 1). The problem can be addressed by providing space for population growth (λ > 1), at least until growth re-establishes the density-dependent response (λ = 1). © 2012 The Wildlife Society.