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Improving decision-making for sustainable hunting: regulatory mechanisms of hunting pressure in red-legged partridge

AutorCaro, Jesús ; Delibes-Mateos, Miguel ; Viñuela, Javier ; López-Lucero, Juan Francisco; Arroyo, Beatriz
Palabras claveAlectoris rufa
Distance sampling
Focus group
Game management
Renewable resource
Fecha de publicaciónjul-2015
CitaciónSustainability Science 10(3): 479-489 (2015)
ResumenKnowledge about how hunting pressure is determined, and the relative efficacy of different mechanisms to regulate harvest, can help to improve the managers’ decision-making process. We developed a general framework about the decision-making process that regulates red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) hunting pressure in central Spain based on information from a focus group and individual interviews with game managers. We also used available information to compare the efficiency of different tools thus improving some decision steps. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of different population monitoring methods as a way to reduce uncertainty on partridge availability to hunters. Additionally, we investigated the relationship between annual harvest and various regulatory mechanisms of partridge hunting pressure used in the study area to identify the most potentially useful one to limit annual take-off. Game managers usually set hunting pressure after a qualitative assessment on population abundance prior to the hunting season, but this decision was frequently modified during the course of the hunting season according to variations in catch or perceived abundance at that time. Our results showed that kilometric abundance indices (counting partridges from cars along line transects) was a simple cost-efficient and reliable estimate of partridge density (estimated by Distance sampling). A variety of regulatory mechanisms were used by managers. The variables that most affected annual harvest (in addition to partridge abundance) were the number of driven-shooting days, and hunter density in walked-up hunting days, suggesting that their adjustment will be the most efficient regulatory mechanisms. We conclude that adequate monitoring on population abundance should be a critical step for managers’ decision-making, and that a better understanding of the relative value of regulatory mechanisms, combining social and ecological approaches, would help improving our understanding of any human-mediated system, thus leading to better management recommendations.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11625-015-0302-z
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