- 1Life-history theory assumes that trade-offs exist between an individual's life-history components, such that an increased allocation of a resource to one fitness trait might be expected to result in a cost for a conflicting fitness trait. Recent evidence from experimental manipulations of wild individuals supports this assumption.
- 2The management of many bird populations involves harvesting for both commercial and conservation purposes. One frequently harvested life-history stage is the egg, but the consequences of repeated egg harvesting for the individual and the long-term dynamics of the population remain poorly understood.
- 3We used a well-documented restored population of the Mauritius kestrel Falco punctatus as a model system to explore the consequences of egg harvesting (and associated management practices) for an individual within the context of life-history theory.
- 4Our analysis indicated that management practices enhanced both the size and number of clutches laid by managed females, and improved mid-life male and female adult survival relative to unmanaged adult kestrels.
- 5Although management resulted in an increased effort in egg production, it reduced parental effort during incubation and the rearing of offspring, which could account for these observed changes.
- 6Synthesis and applications. This study demonstrates how a commonly applied harvesting strategy, when examined within the context of life-history theory, can identify improvements in particular fitness traits that might alleviate some of the perceived negative impact of harvesting on the long-term dynamics of a managed population.