Date of this Version
Lischka, S.A., T.L. Teel, H.E. Johnson, S.E. Reed, S. Breck, A. Don Carlos, and K.R. Crooks. 2018. A conceptual model for the integration of social and ecological information to understand human-wildlife interactions. Biological Conservation 225:80-87. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.06.020
There is growing recognition that interdisciplinary approaches that account for both ecological and social processes are necessary to successfully address human-wildlife interactions. However, such approaches are hindered by challenges in aligning data types, communicating across disciplines, and applying social science information to conservation actions. To meet these challenges, we propose a conceptual model that adopts a social-ecological systems approach and integrates social and ecological theory to identify the multiple, nested levels of influence on both human and animal behavior. By accounting for a diverse array of influences and feedback mechanisms between social and ecological systems, this model fulfills a need for approaches that treat social and ecological processes with equal depth and facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of human and animal behaviors that perpetuate human-wildlife interactions. We apply this conceptual model to our work on human-black bear conflicts in Colorado, USA to demonstrate its utility. Using this example, we identify key lessons and offer guidance to researchers and conservation practitioners for applying integrated approaches to other human-wildlife systems.