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Title:Population Forecasts and Management Considerations for Gray Wolves in North Central Wisconsin (2002--2040)
Author(s):Rafferty, John Patrick
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bruce M. Hannon
Department / Program:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Biology, Biostatistics
Abstract:Since the mid-to-late 1970s, gray wolves (Canis lupus) have been recolonizing northern Wisconsin. Human population and human-induced land use change activities have also increased during this time. Despite isolated incidents of illegal hunting and livestock depredation by wolves, both species have been able to coexist. As the populations of both species increase, it becomes essential that predictive tools combining human-induced land-use change forecasting with carnivore population dynamics be developed to lessen potential wolf-human conflict. This project unites the gLEAM approach of cellular automata modeling; mean carrying capacity estimates based on NCLD land-use type (MTK), and a wolf population dynamics model (WOLFPOP) for two purposes. First, merging three scenarios of human population increases with road-building and conservation-easement scenarios, gLEAM mapped nine land-use change forecasts in a nine-county study area in north central Wisconsin. Secondly, the impact of each land-use change forecast on wolf population dynamics was evaluated. From the observed 2003 wolf population estimate of 111.5 individuals in the study area, baseline runs for all nine land-use change scenarios predicted that the wolf population would increase to 522.74-538.64 wolves by 2040. As human-occupied land grew and surrounded large areas of primary and secondary wolf habitat, potentially impeding its use by wolves, forecasted wolf population estimates declined to 464.27-538.63 wolves by 2040, depending on the size of natural gateways of non-urban land remaining and the ability of wolves to recognize them. The impact of variations in sex ratio, fecundity, mortality at different life stages, and life-stage breeding limitations were also considered both at the scale of the study area and for a single large habitat fragment within the study area predicted by the gLEAM land-use change model. With more effective conservation legislation and open attitudes toward many large carnivore species, many carnivores will recover and recolonize their former ranges, increasing the chances of conflict between humans and large carnivores. It is hoped that this study will help to advise future rapid carrying capacity assessment and population forecasting activities; thereby, identifying potential areas of conflict before they occur.
Issue Date:2006
Description:241 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223698
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2006

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