Date of this Version
Wildlife Society Bulletin 2023;47:e1413.
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) cause significant damage to agriculture and native ecosystems and can transmit diseases to animals and people. Management responses designed to reduce population numbers are needed to mitigate these threats. Identifying networks of key actors, including the ways in which they interact, is valuable for purposes of better understanding opportunities or constraints that generate or impede effective management responses. The goal of our study was to understand the network of organizations, and the personnel working within them, that were active in wild pig management, research, or policy initiatives in Missouri during 2018–2020 by 1) identifying individuals and organizations involved in the network, 2) investigating the attributes of relevant personnel, 3) determining the structural patterns of the network, and 4) examining how the network structure could be optimized to improve communication and collaboration efforts. Results from a social network analysis identified 150 personnel affiliated with 26 organizations actively working on wild pig issues in Missouri. The network was largely homogenous based on respondents' attributes, had low density, and was relatively fragmented, small, decentralized with few ties per node, and separated with few brokers. We emphasize the importance of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a network's structure in facilitating effective collective action to manage wild pigs.
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