The importance of reproduction for the conservation of slow-growing animal populations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Both survival and reproduction are important fitness components, and thus critical to the viability of wildlife populations. Preventing one death (survival) or contributing one newborn (reproduction), has arguably the same effect on population dynamics—in each instance the population grows or is maintained by one additional member. However, for the conservation of slow-growing animal populations, the importance of reproduction is sometimes overlooked when evaluating wildlife management options. This has to do with the use of demographic sensitivity analyses, which quantify the relative contribution of vital rates to population growth. For slow-growing populations, the results of such analyses typically show that growth rates are more sensitive to changes in survival than to equal proportional changes in reproduction. Consequently, for slow-growing taxa, survival has been labelled a better fitness surrogate than reproduction. However, such a generalization, derived from conventional sensitivity analyses, is based on flawed approaches, such as omitting appropriate scaling of vital rates, and sometimes misinterpretations. In this chapter, I make the case that for the conservation of slow-growing species the role of reproduction is considerably greater than conventional sensitivity analyses would suggest. This is illustrated by case studies on wildlife populations that underscore the importance of reproduction for the conservation of slow-growing birds, ungulates, carnivores, and cetaceans.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Pages13-39
Number of pages27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Volume1200
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

Keywords

  • Bears
  • Birds
  • Carnivores
  • Cetaceans
  • Elasticity analysis
  • Reproduction
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Ungulates
  • Wildlife conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The importance of reproduction for the conservation of slow-growing animal populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this