Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 148, Supplement 2, pp 343-349

First online:

Adaptive harvest management of North American waterfowl populations: a brief history and future prospects

  • James D. NicholsAffiliated withPatuxent Wildlife Research Center, US Geological Survey Email author 
  • , Michael C. RungeAffiliated withPatuxent Wildlife Research Center, US Geological Survey
  • , Fred A. JohnsonAffiliated withDivision of Migratory Bird Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • , Byron K. WilliamsAffiliated withCooperative Research Units, US Geological Survey

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Since 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has used an adaptive approach to the management of sport harvest of mid-continent Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) in North America. This approach differs from many current approaches to conservation and management in requiring close collaboration between managers and scientists. Key elements of this process are objectives, alternative management actions, models permitting prediction of system responses, and a monitoring program. The iterative process produces optimal management decisions and leads to reduction in uncertainty about response of populations to management. This general approach to management has a number of desirable features and is recommended for use in many other programs of management and conservation.


Adaptive management Conservation Decision theory Harvest management North America