Governance Principles for Wildlife Conservation in the 21st Century

Short Description

Despite restoring popular "game" animals and other endangered species to populatioin levels similar to the late 1800's, wildlife conservation is still losing ground in the U.S. Climate change does increase the threat for extinction for many species, though this also causes many other species to be overabundant and in need of significant impact mediation. Government agencies expanding their management land acreage helps protect vital habitat that supports endangered species, though loss of habitat due to new development continues to outpace these conservation efforts. The uncertainty for the future of conservation is perpetuated by the decreasing trend for children and adolecents to spend time outdoors engaging in conservation behaviors. The governance institution for wildlife conservation in the U.S. needs to adopt an effective, strategic approach to addressing contemporary social values with regard to land use, ecological conditions, and wildlife. This article highlights ten principles to guide the shift in governance, based on the key components of public trust thinking (PTT) and good governance (GG). The ten guiding principles are:

  1. Wildlife governance will be adaptable and responsive to citizens' current needs and the needs of future generations.
  2. Wildlife governance will seek and incorporate multiple and diverse perspectives.
  3. Wildlife governance will apply social and ecological science, citizens' knowledge, and trust administrators' judgment.
  4. Wildlife governance will produce multiple sustainable benefits for all beneficiaries.
  5. Wildlife governance will ensure that trust administrators are responsible for maintaining trust resources and allocating benefits from the trust.
  6. Wildlife governance will be publicly acessible and transparent.
  7. Wildlife governance will ensure that the trust administrators are publicly accountable.
  8. Wildlife governance will include means for citizens to become informed and engaged in decision making.
  9. Wildlife governance will include opportunities for trust administrators to meet their obligations in partnerships with nongovernmental entities.
  10. Wildlife governance will facilitate collaboration and coordination across ecological, jurisdictional, and ownership boundaries.

The article continues with highlighting impllications of adopting these principles, and discusses prospects for adopting them as well.

Suggested Citation

Decker, D., Smith, C., Forstchen, A., Hare, D., Pomeranz, E., Doyle-Capitman, C., Schuler, K. and Organ, J. (2016), Governance Principles for Wildlife Conservation in the 21st Century. Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12211