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Restoring predator and prey at the same time is best

Cara J

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The elk or wolf – which comes first in population management? For optimal results, according to a recent study, the answer is actually both predator and prey together. “By managing in a holistic sense, considering the interactions between species, you recover the entire ecosystem faster and with less volatility,” said Mark Novak, assistant professor of integrative biology at Oregon State University and co-author on the paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution. “You have less population explosions and fewer crashes than when you manage species one at a time.” Overharvesting of species through activities such as hunting and fur trading has caused many population declines and collapses, and wildlife managers have typically tried to manage them back to recovery one species at a time, Novak said. But species are connected to each other, often through predator-prey relationships. So the exploitation and management of Atlantic cod, for example, is linked to the exploitation and management of herring, a primary component of the cod diet. Steps to ecosystem recovery typically involve reducing harvests on the prey species to establish a substantial prey base before attempting to increase predator numbers. This research suggests that limiting harvests of predator and prey simultaneously allows for faster [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/restoring-predator-and-prey-at-the-same-time-is-best/

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