HDRU Faculty Published in Essential Wildlife Textbook

Several articles by The Human Dimensions Research Unit were included in the recently published textbook Essential Readings in Wildlife Management and Conservation. The book is edited by Paul Krausman and Bruce Leopold, and includes forty-two essential papers on wildlife management and conservation, each with a commentary and associated publications. Daniel Decker and Barbara Knuth, along with former NTRES faculty Charles Krueger, Richard Baer, Jr., and Milo E. Richmond, have an article entitled “From Clients to Stakeholders: A Philosophical Shift for Fish and Wildlife Management” in the philosophical section of the book. Dr. Decker also has two other articles in the human dimensions section: “Human Dimensions of living with wildlife– a management challenge for the 21st century” written with Lisa Chase, and “Public Attitudes Toward a Suburban Deer Herd” written with Thomas Gavin.

2nd Edition of Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management textbook published

The long awaited 2ndedition of the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management textbook has been published!

Description from online sources: Wildlife professionals can more effectively manage species and social-ecological systems by fully considering the role that humans play in every stage of the process. Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management provides the essential information that students and practitioners need to be effective problem solvers. Edited by three leading experts in wildlife management Daniel J. Decker, Shawn J. Riley, and William F. Siemer, this textbook explores the interface of humans with wildlife and their sometimes complementary, often conflicting, interests. The book’s well-researched chapters address conservation, wildlife use (hunting and fishing), and the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of wildlife management.

Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management explains how a wildlife professional should handle a variety of situations, such as managing deer populations in residential areas or encounters between predators and people or pets.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition includes detailed information about • systems thinking• working with social scientists• managing citizen input• using economics to inform decision making• preparing questionnaires• ethical considerations

To order this book, click here.

Dan Decker to Co-chair Special Session of the78th North American in 2013

Daniel Decker, chair of the Human Dimensions Research Unit, will co-chair a Special Session at the 78th North American. He and Ann Forstchen of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be facilitating this session entitled Do Public Trust Responsibilities Really Matter? This conference will be held March 25-30, 2013. Visit the Wildlife Management Institute’s page to read more about this special session.

Call for abstracts – Human Dimensions Conference

Professor Dan Decker, director of the Human Dimensions Research Unit (HDRU), is co-chair for Pathways to Success, an international Human Dimensions Conference. The mission of the conference is to increase professionalism and effectiveness in the human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife management. This year’s theme is Integrating Human Dimensions into Fish and Wildlife Management: An Essential Component of Adaptive Capacity. Dan is organizing a plenary session for the conference, and is serving, with HDRU Senior Research Associate Bruce Lauber, as co-editor of an associated special issue of the Human Dimensions of Wildlife journal. The conference will take place in Breckenridge, Colorado, September 24-27, 2012 and is a cooperative effort between Cornell University and Colorado State University.

Visit the conference website at www.hdfwconference.org to learn more.

Conference Themes:
Biodiversity and Coupled Social-Ecological Systems
Fish and Wildlife Governance
The Changing Nature of Wildlife Conservation
Enduring Issues in HDFW
Improving HDFW Science
Increasing HDFW Capacity
Working with the Public
Implications of Global Change
Human Wildlife Conflict
Wildlife in an Ecosystem Services Paradigm
Discourses about Wildlife
Demographics and Fish and Wildlife Policy

Department Presence at 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference

The 2012 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference was held last week (March 12-17) in Atlanta, GA.  Cynthia Jacobson (MS ‘96, PhD ‘06) and Professor Dan Decker (BS ‘74, MS ‘76, PhD ‘86) were co-organizers (with John Organ and Chris Smith) of an Agency Transformation workshop.  This was the third day-long workshop the group has offered agency and NGO leaders (2010, 2011, 2012) at this conference.  The agency transformation topic is informed and motivated by Cindi’s doctoral dissertation research, conducted when she was a graduate student in Natural Resources.  Ashley Dayer (PhD candidate) participated in the workshop.

Department staff and graduates also contributed to a conference special session titled “Integrating Human Dimensions Knowledge and Wildlife Disease Management.”  The session was organized by Professor Shawn Riley (PhD ’98 and former postdoc in the Human Dimensions Research Unit) and Shauna Hannisch.  Two of the four featured paper presentations were either given by or included DNR staff as coauthors.  Dr. Bill Siemer (PhD ‘09), research associate in the Human Dimensions Research Unit, reported on a study he, Sr. Research Associate Bruce Lauber (PhD ‘96), Dan Decker and Shawn Riley are working to identify fish and wildlife health management capacity needs for state agencies. Dr. Margaret Wild, chief of the wildlife health program for National Park Service gave a paper on the communication considerations associated with a “one health” approach to wildlife health management, co-authored with Dan Decker and others.  Dan Decker wrapped up the special session with summary comments that emphasized the need for integrating research-based human dimensions knowledge into policy, planning and practice for wildlife disease management, and also reinforced the need to be deliberate in communicating about wildlife disease so as to avoid unwarranted magnification of public risk perceptions.

Additionally, Phd candidate Ashley Dayer contributed to bird conservation meetings at the conference.  She serves on the Council for Partners in Flight (www.partnersinflight.org). This invitation-only body makes decisions to guide the activities of the international land bird conservation initiative.  Ashley also presented in the Partners in Flight/Waterbird/Shorebird Working Group on the results of a webinar series she led to aid state agency employees in learning about bird conservation tools and resources.  With tight budgets, agency staff are increasingly limited in their ability to travel, making such innovative approaches to connect and share resources essential.

Special Session at 77th N.A. Conference Will Address Human Dimensions in Relation to Wildlife Health Issues

The Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University have been involved in developing a special session for the 77th North American Conference focused on the human dimensions of One Health for Fish and Wildlife Management (wildlife heath, risk perception, wildlife disease, etc.) See below for the official conference announcement. View the SFWA Flier.

Throughout the world, natural resource agencies are increasingly recognizing and contending with links between human and animal health. This realization has prompted numerous agencies and organizations to develop and adopt comprehensive wildlife/human health initiatives, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.

The unfortunate reality facing management agencies is that emerging and persistent zoonotic pathogens (those that can be shared by animals and humans) directly and indirectly threaten the health of wildlife, domestic animals and humans while also posing serious economic, cultural, and natural resource impacts. Furthermore, these diseases and their management place heavy burdens on the financial and human resources of state and federal fish, wildlife and land management agencies. Although this is disconcerting in itself, of equal or greater concern to natural resource professionals is the additive effect of negative public perceptions associated with diseased wildlife populations.

A Special Session at the upcoming 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference will address the urgent need to promote public support for wildlife health via effective communication strategies. Titled, “Integrating Human Dimensions Knowledge and Wildlife Health Management,” this Special Session will be held on March 14, 2012, at the North American Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and will spotlight the numerous challenges presented to state and federal agencies regarding public perceptions of wildlife-related health risks and stakeholder expectations for wildlife disease management.

The consequences of not effectively managing wildlife health and its biological/psychological influences on the general public will have far-reaching ramifications for the entire field of natural resource management. If wildlife is primarily viewed as a vector of disease, public support for conservation will likely diminish, as positive values associated with wildlife resources are outweighed by human health fears. At stake is public participation in wildlife-oriented recreation, the credibility of the wildlife profession and the status of wildlife as a valued resource.

Speaking at this Special Session will be experts from state and federal resource management agencies as well as researchers from leading universities who will highlight new research and insights pertinent to strengthening fish and wildlife health-related policies and aiding effective implementation. Specifically, presentations will address use of new analytical tools for assessing wildlife disease risks and developing optimal management solutions; stakeholder attitudes and risk perceptions toward wildlife health management; agency capacity to promote fish and wildlife health; and how the One Health paradigm is being applied to build stakeholder relationships and improve communication around fish and wildlife health.

This Special Session, chaired by Shawn Riley and Shauna Hanisch of Michigan State University, will conclude with an emphasis on how human dimensions inquiry can continue to inform our understanding of wildlife health management and the system within which it operates.

Current Updates in the Human Dimensions Research Unit

The Human Dimensions Research Unit (HDRU) at Cornell University strives to expand the understanding of academicians, students, and natural resources agency staff about the human behavioral aspects of natural resource management and policy. We work to develop fundamental understandings of human behavior associated with resource management and to apply concepts and empirical findings to real-world, contemporary problems of management.

Professor Dan Decker, director of HDRU, is currently co-chair for an international human dimensions conference, organizing a plenary session for that conference, and is serving with HDRU Senior Research Associate Bruce Lauber  as co-editor of an associated special issue of the Human Dimensions of Wildlife journal. The conference will take place in Breckenridge, Colorado, September 24-27, 2012 and is a cooperative effort  between Cornell University and Colorado State University. The conference theme is “Contributions of Human Dimensions to Adaptive Capacity for Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

Dan Decker is also currently involved in multiple outreach workshops for fish and wildlfie professionals. He has worked with Cindi Jacobson (MS and PhD from Natural Resources)  John Organ (both with US Fish and Wildlife Service), as well as Chris Smith (Wildlife Management Institute) to develop a third workshop in their series at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference on “Transforming State Fish and Wildlife Agencies.”   The 2012 workshop is focused on Perspectives from Outside the Tent Looking In:  Enhancing State Wildlife Agencies’ Impact on the Future of Wildlife Conservation.”  The objective of this workshop is to identify challenges and opportunities for collaboration in wildlife conservation and strategies leading to effective wildlife resource governance.   The workshop focus is on how potential conservation partners (NGOs, federal and local governments, etc.) for State Wildlife Agencies see the direction of needed state agency transformation.  Dan is also planning a series of workshops for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on “Thinking Like a Manager,” “Implications of the Public Trust Doctrine for State Fish and Wildlife Agencies” and “Human Dimensions integration in Fish and Wildlife management through Impact Management.”

Associate Professor Richard C. Stedman, associate director of HDRU, was recently awarded (as part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension team) the David J. Allee and Paul R. Eberts Community and Economic Vitality Award for work related to Marcellus shale.

Rich Stedman is also the Cornell University representative on a National Science Foundation proposal: People, water, and climate: Predicting change, response, and adaptation in socio-ecological systems (Water Sustainability & Climate).  If successful, HDRU would be involved in a basin wide study of linkages between ecological and social change, which fits nicely with current Army Corps and Great Lakes Fisheries projects.

Associate Professor Shorna B. Allred, associate director of HDRU, is involved in multiple workshops and webinars including a Cornell Cooperative Extension Workshop that held October 14 titled “Fostering Community Engagement in Urban Forestry: A Practical Toolkit for Educators.” Others include “Ties to the Land Workshops” and webinars and Climate Atlas Webinars with Cooperative Extension Associates Kristi Sullivan and Gary Goff.

Other ongoing HDRU projects (a sample) include:

  • Increasing the Effectiveness of Fish Consumption Advisories in the Great Lakes States
  • Building Local Capacity for Environmental Resources Conservation in the Face of Change
  • Assessing Agency Capacities to Manage Fish and Wildlife Health
  • Developing knowledge to manage economic, health, and safety risks of wildlife for individuals and communities in New York
  • Human dimensions knowledge to manage wildlife habituation in national parks
  • New York State Woodland Owners and Their Interest in Woody Biofuels

A more comprehensive review of 2010 projects and activities in HDRU can be found in the HDRU Annual Report. Current HDRU publications can be found here.