The Need for Strategic Planning in Passive Restoration of Wildlife Populations

Authors

  • Thomas A. Scott,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Science , Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 92740, and the Center for Conservation Biology and Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, U.S.A.
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  • Walter Wehtje,

    1. Department of Earth Sciences , University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, U.S.A.
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  • Morgan Wehtje

    1. California Department of Fish and Game , 1933 Cliff Drive, Suite 9, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, U.S.A.
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 Address correspondence to Thomas A. Scott, Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521

Abstract

There are two reasons for strategic planning in passive wildlife restoration: first, to maximize the potential for colonization of restoration sites in challenged landscapes, and second, to maximize the contribution of each restoration project to regional, management area, ecosystem, or target species goals. Landscape configuration and the demographic/dispersal characteristics of target species can govern the level of wildlife response to habitat restoration projects. This is particularly true for fragmented habitats in rapidly suburbanizing areas, where the widely held notion that wildlife can colonize any restored habitat is challenged by barriers to dispersal. Because habitat restoration is a passive means of restoring wildlife populations, equal weight needs to be given to the context (likelihood of site colonization by target species) as well as the content (habitat) of restoration projects. Defining spatial patterns of demography, dispersion, and dispersal allows restorationists to place projects where they can have the greatest impact on the threats and sensitivities of target species, and the greatest contribution to the persistence and/or recovery of populations. Further, it provides a means of evaluating the relative potential worth of different restoration sites. If passive wildlife restoration is to be successful, the constraints to colonization need to be interpreted with regional goals of ecosystem and species management in mind.

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