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Conservation Planning with Large Carnivores and Ungulates in Eastern North America: Learning from the Past to Plan for the Future

Abstract

While large mammals are often important targets of conservation ­activities in their own right, they can serve as effective tools for designing ­conservation landscapes and management measures at the human–wildlife interface. This chapter explores the potential role of large mammals in conservation planning in the Northern Appalachians/Acadian ecoregion, exploring two major questions: What can we learn from the past about the status of large mammals and the drivers of change, and what can this knowledge tell us about how both to plan for their continued persistence or recovery and to deploy them to help cover at least some of the needs of other, less visible components of biological diversity? An analysis of the individual trajectories of 10 large mammal species over the past four centuries of landscape and climate changes in the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion reveals several patterns of decline and recovery having occurred against a backdrop of variable environmental conditions such as land-use change, ­climate shifts, ­prevailing human attitudes, and interspecific relationships. Deploying large mammals as conservation planning tools can range from expanding the scale of conservation ambition to guiding the identification of core conservation lands, ­connectivity within the overall landscape, and thresholds of development intensity.

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Acknowledgements

I extend my sincere appreciation to Graham Forbes and Michaele Glennon, who reviewed various drafts of this manuscript and provided insightful comments that helped improve the final product. I also take this occasion to acknowledge Bill Krohn and Jerry Jenkins, who have both influenced my thinking on the historical ecology of carnivores in the Northeast through their important work and stimulating discussions.

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Ray, J.C. (2010). Conservation Planning with Large Carnivores and Ungulates in Eastern North America: Learning from the Past to Plan for the Future. In: Trombulak, S., Baldwin, R. (eds) Landscape-scale Conservation Planning. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9575-6_9

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