Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1142–1154 | Cite as

Sustainably Harvesting a Large Carnivore? Development of Eurasian Lynx Populations in Norway During 160 Years of Shifting Policy

  • John D. C. LinnellEmail author
  • Henrik Broseth
  • John Odden
  • Erlend Birkeland Nilsen


The management of large carnivores in multiuse landscapes is always controversial, and managers need to balance a wide range of competing interests. Hunter harvest is often used to limit population size and distribution but is proving to be both controversialand technically challenging. Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are currently managed as a game species in Norway. We describe an adaptive management approach where quota setting is based on an annual census and chart the population development through the period 1996–2008, as management has become significantly more sophisticated and better informed by the increased availability of scientific data. During this period the population has been through a period of high quotas and population decline caused by fragmented management authority and overoptimistic estimates of lynx reproduction, followed by a period of recovery due to quota reductions. The modern management regime is placed in the context of shifting policy during the last 160 years, during which management goals have moved from extermination stimulated by bounties, through a short phase of protection, and now to quota-regulated harvest. Much management authority has also been delegated from central to local levels. We conclude that adaptive management has the potential to keep the population within some bounded limits, although there will inevitably be fluctuation.


Adaptive management Eurasian lynx Harvest Large carnivore Historical policy 



Funding for this research was primarily provided by ear-marked financing from the state budget to the Ministry of the Environment through the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management to the National Large Predator Monitoring Program. Additional financing was provided by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the Research Council of Norway.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. C. Linnell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henrik Broseth
    • 1
  • John Odden
    • 1
  • Erlend Birkeland Nilsen
    • 2
  1. 1.Terrestrial EcologyNorwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of Forestry and Wildlife ManagementHedmark CollegeKoppangNorway

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