Conservation of Wildlife Populations: Demography, Genetics and Management
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Conservation of Wildlife Populations provides an
accessible introduction to the most relevant concepts and
principles for solving real-world management problems in wildlife
and conservation biology. Bringing together insights from
traditionally disparate disciplines, the book shows how population
biology addresses important questions involving the harvest,
monitoring, and conservation of wildlife populations.
- Covers the most up-to-date approaches for assessing factors
that affect both population growth and interactions with other
species, including predation, genetic changes, harvest, introduced
species, viability analysis and habitat loss and
- Is an essential guide for undergraduates and postgraduate
students of wildlife biology, conservation biology, ecology, and
environmental studies and an invaluable resource for practising
managers on how population biology can be applied to wildlife
conservation and management.
Artwork from the book is available to instructors online at www.blackwellpublishing.com/mills. An Instructor manual CD-ROM for this title is available. Please contact our Higher Education team at HigherEducation@wiley.com for more information.
List of symbols.
PART I: Background to applied population biology.
1. The Big Picture: Human population dynamics meets applied population biology.
Population ecology of humans.
Extinction rates of other species.
Humans and sustainable harvest.
The big picture.
2. Designing studies and interpreting population biology data: how do we know what we know?.
Obtaining reliable facts through sampling.
Linking observed facts to ideasmind leads to understanding.
Ethics and the wildlife population biologist.
3. Genetic concepts and tools to support wildlife population biology.
What is genetic variation?.
Genetic markers used in wildlife population biology.
Insights into wildlife population biology using genetic tools.
4. Estimating population vital rates.
Estimating abundance and density.
Estimation of reproduction.
PART II: POPULATION PROCESSES: THE BASIS FOR MANAGEMENT.
5. The simplest way to describe and project population growth: exponential and geometric change.
Fundamentals of geometric or exponential growth.
Causes and consequences of variation in population growth.
Quantifying population growth in a stochastic environment.
6. Density dependent population change.
Negative density dependence.
Positive density dependence.
The logistic: one simple model of negative density-dependent population growth.
Some counterintuitive dynamics: limit cycles and chaos.
7. Accounting for age and sex-specific differences: population projection models.
Anatomy of a population-projection matrix.
How timing of sampling affects the matrix.
Projecting a matrix through time.
Adding stochasticity to a matrix model.
8. Predation and wildlife populations.
Does predation affect prey numbers?.
Factors affecting how predation impacts prey numbers.
9. Genetic Variation and Fitness of Wildlife Populations.
Long-term benefits of genetic variation.
What determines levels of genetic variation in populations?.
Quantifying the loss of heterozygosity: the inbreeding coefficient.
When does inbreeding lead to inbreeding depression?.
What to do when faced with inbreeding depression?.
10. Dynamics of Multiple Populations.
Connectivity among populations.
Measuring connectivity among wildlife populations.
Multiple populations are not all equal.
Options for restoring connectivity.
PART III: APPLYING KNOWLEDGE OF POPULATION PROCESSES TO PROBLEMS OF DECLINING, SMALL, OR HARVESTABLE POPULATIONS.
11. Human Perturbations: Deterministic Factors Leading to Population Decline.
General effects of deterministic stressors on populations.
Habitat loss and fragmentation.
Introduced and invasive species.
Global climate change.
Synergistic effects among deterministic stressors.
12. Predicting the dynamics of small and declining populations.
Ecological characteristics predicting risk.
The extinction vortex.
Predicting risks in small populations.
Population viability analysis: quantitative methods of assessing viability.
Other approaches to assessing viability.
Some closing thoughts about assessing viability.
13. Bridging applied population and ecosystem ecology with focal species concepts.
Keystone species and strong interactors.
14. Population biology of harvested populations.
Effects of hunting on population dynamics.
Long term effects: hunting as a selective force.
Models to guide sustainable harvests.
Waterfowl harvest and adaptive harvest management.
Management of overabundant and pest populations.
- Provides an accessible introduction to the most relevant
concepts and principles for solving real-world management problems
in wildlife and conservation biology.
- Brings together insights from traditionally disparate
disciplines to show how population biology addresses important
questions involving the harvest, monitoring, and conservation of
- Covers the most up-to-date approaches for assessing factors that affect both population growth and interactions with other species, including predation, genetic changes, harvest, introduced species, viability analysis and habitat loss and fragmentation.
“A well-organized, well-written, and entertaining
introduction to the study of population biology ….Mills uses
personal experience as a tool to infuse his message of
“[Mills] writes in an engaging style … .Avoiding the
temptation to see the world in black and white, Mills emphasizes
that uncertainty is as much a part of conservation biology as the
conceptual foundations and quantitative tools that make up our
collective toolbox. Mills generally presents concepts in very
understandable terms … he backs these up with numerous
examples from his work and the broader literature. With this book
under their belt, students will have the foundation to pursue more
advanced coursework and understand why they should. In doing this,
Mills has succeeded in filling an important void.”
“Scott Mills has written a valuable advanced text for those who will be practitioners of wildlife management. Provides a nice blend of the negative human effects often seen in conservation texts, balanced with the importance of proactive wildlife management. Those looking for an advanced text on population management with numerous examples and effective integration of demography and genetic concepts along with a variety of standard and more recent management approaches will find this text a valuable resource.” (Journal of Heredity)“Scott Mills has written an excellent textbook designed to make undergraduates think and to guide them to understanding of how modern methods of population biology are applied by wildlife biologists. The themes of genetics and population dynamics run through the book with succinct expositions of theory and vivid examples from real problems facing the practitioner.”
–Professor Henry M Wilbur, University of Virginia
“Scott Mills cleverly bridges the gap between conservation
genetics and population ecology; a connection often given short
thrift in more specialized titles. The writing style is engaging,
and technical concepts are regularly reinforced with interesting
–Barry W Brook, Charles Darwin University
“Scott Mills’ Conservation of Wildlife
Populations is a significant contribution to the literature. I
found it thorough, readable, and useful in dealing with this
increasingly important aspect of wildlife and conservation biology.
–Professor Jack W Thomas, University of Montana
"Finally! ... a book that combines the nuts and bolts of basic
population growth and population estimation techniques (including
genetic techniques) with PVA and harvest modeling while using
applied examples from real wildlife populations! Now I don't have
to use two books plus cobble together readings from various sources
in order to teach my upper division Population Dynamics course!
This book will make it so much easier on instructors and students
–Dr Marcella Kelly, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University