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Quantitative Conservation of Vertebrates

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9098-5
352 pages
January 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Quantitative Conservation of Vertebrates (1405190981) cover image


This book provides a hands-on introduction to the construction and application of models to studies of vertebrate distribution, abundance, and habitat. The book is aimed at field biologists, conservation planners, and advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students who are involved with planning and analyzing conservation studies, and applying the results to conservation decisions. The book also acts as a bridge to more advanced and mathematically challenging coverage in the wider literature.

Part I provides a basic background in population and community modeling. It introduces statistical models, and familiarizes the reader with important concepts in the design of monitoring and research programs. These programs provide the essential data that guide conservation decision making. Part II covers the principal methods used to estimate abundance, occupancy, demographic parameters, and community parameters, including occupancy sampling, sample counts, distance sampling, and capture-mark-recapture (for both closed and open populations). Emphasis is placed on practical aspects of designing and implementing field studies, and the proper analysis of data. Part III introduces structured decision making and adaptive management, in which predictive models are used to inform conservation decision makers on appropriate decisions in the face of uncertainty—with the goal of reducing uncertainty through monitoring and research. A detailed case study is used to illustrate each of these themes.

Numerous worked examples and accompanying electronic material (on a website -  http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/conroy - and accompanying CD) provide the details of model construction and application, and data analysis.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgements ix

Companion website and CD-ROM x

1 Introduction: the role of science in conservation 1

Part I Basic concepts in scientific investigations for conservation 7

2 Using models in conservation biology 9

3 Models of population dynamics 15

4 Applying population models to conservation 32

5 Basics of study design and analysis 47

Part II Conservation studies and monitoring programs 71

6 General principles of estimation 73

7 Occupancy (presence–absence) analysis 81

8 Sample counts for abundance estimation 101

9 Distance sampling for estimating density and abundance 115

10 Capture–mark–recapture studies for estimating abundance and density 135

11 Estimation of survival from radiotelemetry, nesting success studies, and age distributions 160

12 Mark–recapture for estimating survival, recruitment, abundance, and movement rates 189

13 Analysis of habitat 219

14 Estimation of species richness and other community parameters 230

Part III Integrating modeling and monitoring for conservation 251

15 Elements of conservation decision making 253

16 Accounting for uncertainty in conservation decisions 265

17 Learning and adaptive management 274

18 Case study: decision modeling and adaptive management for declining grassland birds in the southeastern USA 289

19 Summary and recommendations 303

Literature cited 307

Glossary 314

Appendix A: Statistical and modeling programs available on the worldwide web 324

Appendix B: Other internet resources 326

Appendix C: Modeling and statistical notation 328

Appendix D: Key to abundance and parameter estimation 331

Index 337

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Author Information

Dr Michael J. Conroy has nearly 30 years of experience in developing sampling approaches, statistical estimation methods, and modeling for a wide variety of natural resource management problems. He is the author of numerous publications in applied quantitative approaches, and is coauthor on the widely acclaimed volume by Williams et al. (2002). He is currently Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management at the University of Georgia, and Assistant Unit Leader of the Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. He is literate in Spanish and has taught short courses on quantitative methods in the US, Spain, India, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Argentina.

Dr John P. Carroll has been researching conservation issues relative to the Galliformes for more than 20 years. He is Chair of the World Pheasant Association/BirdLife/IUCN Species Survival Commission Partridge, Quail, and Francolin Specialist Group. He is author of numerous publications on the biology and conservation of Galliformes and the effects of agricultural practices on wildlife. He is currently Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. He has taught short courses on field research methods and techniques in Malaysia, Nepal, and India.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Offers a comprehensive introduction to quantitative conservation techniques
  • Written in a very accessible style in jargon-free, simple language
  • Takes students from basic study design through to the application of techniques to real-world decision making processes

  • Electronic companion to the book provided in two formats: hypertext on CD, and a webpage maintained at the University of Georgia

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"In summary, this book provides readers with a strong general understanding of numerical approaches that are commonly used to explore vertebrate conservation problems in a clear and straightforward manner. The accompanying CDROM presents ready access to all the worked examples in the volume, providing good templates for teaching aids; there is also a regularly updated be thrown in the rucksack of even the most adventurous field researcher". (The Quarterly Review of Biology, 1 December 2010)

"Overall, this would be a plausible book for an upper-division course in which students would learn, rather painlessly, the necessary combination of observation and mathematics necessary to make important conservation decisions." (CHOICE, December 2009)

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