Hunting for sustainability

Period: October 2008 - May 2012 Researchers: Nils Bunnfield & Ana Nuno Collaborators: This project is part of a large inter-disciplinary study; for more details see the main project website. Research Plans The Imperial College team's contribution to HUNT is to develop models to support the sustainable management of hunted species, based upon the Management Strategy Evaluation approach in fisheries science. There are 3 linked sub-models, for the dynamics of the population, the decision-making of the hunters and that of the managers (see Figure). Uncertainties arise in the monitoring of the population and hunters by managers, which information feeds into management decision-making to produce rules. There is then uncertainty in the translation of rules into hunting behaviour. Hunting behaviour is a function of hunter incentives, which are influenced both by external drivers (e.g. other livelihood options, alternative trophy hunting opportunities) and by the population size/distribution of prey species.

This modelling framework enables us to explore the feedbacks between different components of the system and the effects of our uncertainty on management effectiveness. We build our best guess model for the population and hunter dynamics, using the information available, and then explore the effects of imperfect monitoring and of alternative model structures. The model can be used to show where we can target our research to improve our management effectiveness (e.g. what are our key areas of ignorance that would dramatically improve management if we had better information on them, for example is it more important to invest in reducing monitoring uncertainty or in understanding vital rates such as dispersal?). It can also be used to explore the consequences of different management approaches, e.g. how data are translated into management rules such as hunting quotas. Case Studies We are using this same underlying framework for three case studies - the mountain nyala in Ethiopia, the brown bear in Croatia/Slovenia, bushmeat hunting in Tanzania. Publications Milner-Gulland, E.J., Arroyo, B., Bellard, C., Blanchard, J., Bunnefeld, N., Delibes-Mateos, M., Edwards, C., Nuno, A., Palazy, L., Reljic, S., Riera, P., Skrbinsek, T. (in press) New directions in Management Strategy Evaluation through cross-fertilisation between fisheries science and terrestrial conservation. Biology Letters