Population Ecology

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 315–327 | Cite as

A theoretical approach for zone-based management of the deer population on Yakushima Island

  • Aomi Fujimaki
  • Katsunori Shioya
  • Satoshi Tagawa
  • Hiroyuki Matsuda
Original article


The biological balance of Yakushima Island is currently being compromised by overpopulation of sika deer (Cervus nippon yakushimae). We predicted that the island’s deer population would continue to grow unless control efforts are raised threefold from their 2012 levels. To identify the best management practice for future implementation, we evaluated and compared the performances of three different zone-based management strategies. Under the current management scenario, the median population size of the sika deer on the island would temporarily decrease, but it would subsequently rebound. Under a scenario that allows management zones to be prioritized according to the occurrence of threatened plant species and deer population size, model simulations suggested that the scenario focusing on the central zone would show the best performance based on the probability of achievement of the management goal (assuming that there is no dispersal between zones). This course of action would lead to a decrease in the median deer population size and would further ensure a high probability of achieving the 2022 target population size across most zones (up to 85 %), even if catch levels were not increased. In a future study, we would need to conduct a more detailed analysis of plants and deer density distributions.


Adaptive wildlife management Dispersal Matrix population model Population risk management Spatial prioritization 



We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. N. Noma of the University of Shiga Prefecture and to Dr. R. Tsujino of the Nara University of Education for providing us with access to encounter rate data for the western zone of Yakushima Island. We would also like to thank Dr. R. Koda of the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, Osaka Prefecture, for his input regarding the encounter rate data, as well as Dr. C. Terada of the Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, for her input on deer subpopulations. We appreciate the insights and comments provided by H. Ijima, S. Sasaki, and U. Ohta on previous drafts and extend our thanks to T. Kawamura for his feedback on our research plan. Finally, we would like to thank the referees for their detailed and helpful comments. This work was partially supported by a grant received by Hiroyuki Matsuda from the Ministry of Environment.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Kagoshima Environmental Research and ServiceKagoshimaJapan
  3. 3.Ministry of the EnvironmentKyushu District National Parks and Wildlife OfficeYakushima, KagoshimaJapan

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