5 years ago

A matrix system using quality classes can be applied for managing sustainable wild ungulates populations: Convergence below optimum capacity

During last decades ungulates have increased their populations and distribution areas, this widespread has made habitat damage appear and some conflicts with human interests, for these reasons the development of an ecological sustainable control is necessary. This study introduces a mathematical matrix model for managing wild ungulate populations through a quantitative method, describing the steps for the complete managing process, This work describes and applies the method to a population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in central Iberia (Spain), through a matrix system model organized by quality classes, based on physical characteristics and biological behavior, and it results in an improvement much more useful for wildlife managers than previous matrix methods The output provides essential information for the management, as the population density evolution by quality classes twice a year: after the reproductive season and the extraction season, population growth rate, stable population distribution and extraction rate to guarantee a heathy and sustainable population. The model describes a method to reach a stable Optimum Capacity, reducing conflicts with human societies and environment deterioration, giving meaning to two different concepts: Optimum capacity and Carrying capacity. The study simulates a real management case with the density below Optimum Capacity where there are no density dependent growth restrictions, and how to achieve and maintain the Optimum Density. The method allows a successful optimum management, improving a quantitative sustainable control of the population, and preserving ecological natural habitat characteristics, given an advantage over alternative models and management trends.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0925857417304603

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