UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The challenges of integrative approaches in wildlife management : caribou management in insular Newfoundland Decker, Stephen Edmund


The field of wildlife management is evolving and adopting Integrated Resource Management (IRM) approaches. As part of this evolution, contemporary wildlife management is informed by a greater diversity of stakeholders and other land-use issues than in the past and also acknowledges the place of individual wildlife species in the larger ecosystem. Though well-recorded from a theoretical perspective, the extent to which this evolution is manifested in an applied wildlife management setting has received little attention in the literature. This dissertation explores and further elucidates the connection between the overarching field of IRM and the current Human Dimensions-focused stage in the evolution of the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Through a case study of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus-caribou) management on the island of Newfoundland, Canada, this research examines the extent to which the purported trends toward more IRM approaches are manifest on the ground Stakeholder interviews and a content analysis of relevant popular media articles and other published materials were analyzed using an analytical framework that was based on a series of characteristic dimensions of IRM. Study findings suggest that while the various dimensions of IRM are, to varying extents, manifest in the wildlife management context identified, the significant challenges of fragmented management departments, disciplines, and a lack of a formalized structure for stakeholder engagement remain. This dissertation makes a unique contribution to the IRM and human dimensions of wildlife management (HDWM) literatures by identifying and exploring a significant gap between theory and practice in wildlife management and by also identifying and analyzing a lack of attention to managing wildlife in the public trust. The latter sections of this dissertation return to the research questions to address the challenges of adopting more integrated approaches in the context of caribou management in Newfoundland. The dissertation also contributes to the practice of wildlife management by concluding with the identification of an opportunity to implement a more resilient, stakeholder-engaged management structure that is insulated from the ebb and flow of agency staff and budget allocations and that can help ensure the sustainable management of wildlife in the public trust.

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