Predators on private land: broad-scale socioeconomic interactions influence large predator management

Clements, Hayley S., Cumming, Graeme S., and Kerley, Graham I.H. (2016) Predators on private land: broad-scale socioeconomic interactions influence large predator management. Ecology and Society, 21 (2). pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

The proliferation of private land conservation areas (PLCAs) is placing increasing pressure on conservation authorities to effectively regulate their ecological management. Many PLCAs depend on tourism for income, and charismatic large mammal species are considered important for attracting international visitors. Broad-scale socioeconomic factors therefore have the potential to drive fine-scale ecological management, creating a systemic scale mismatch that can reduce long-term sustainability in cases where economic and conservation objectives are not perfectly aligned. We assessed the socioeconomic drivers and outcomes of large predator management on 71 PLCAs in South Africa. Owners of PLCAs that are stocking free-roaming large predators identified revenue generation as influencing most or all of their management decisions, and rated profit generation as a more important objective than did the owners of PLCAs that did not stock large predators. Ecotourism revenue increased with increasing lion (Panthera leo) density, which created a potential economic incentive for stocking lion at high densities. Despite this potential mismatch between economic and ecological objectives, lion densities were sustainable relative to available prey. Regional-scale policy guidelines for free-roaming lion management were ecologically sound. By contrast, policy guidelines underestimated the area required to sustain cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), which occurred at unsustainable densities relative to available prey. Evidence of predator overstocking included predator diet supplementation and frequent reintroduction of game. We conclude that effective facilitation of conservation on private land requires consideration of the strong and not necessarily beneficial multiscale socioeconomic factors that influence private land management.

Item ID: 48397
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: cheetah Acinonyx jubatus; cross-scale interaction; ecotourism; financial objectives; lion Panthera leo; minimum area requirements; predator management; social-ecological
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

ISSN: 1708-3087
Funders: James S. McDonnell Foundation, GreenMatter Harry Crossley Fellowship, National Research Foundation, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute
Date Deposited: 25 May 2017 02:11
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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