U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14:219–223, 2009.


There is a growing recognition among wildlife managers that focusing management on wildlife often provides a temporary fix to human–wildlife conflicts, whereas changing human behavior can provide long-term solutions. Human dimensions research of wildlife conflicts frequently focuses on stakeholders’ characteristics, problem identification, and acceptability of management, and less frequently on human behavior and evaluation of management actions to change that behavior. Consequently, little information exists to assess overall success of management. We draw on our experience studying human–bear conflicts, and argue for more human dimensions studies that focus on change in human behavior to measure management success. We call for help from social scientists to conduct applied experiments utilizing two methods, direct observation and self-reported data, to measure change in behavior. We are optimistic these approaches will help fill the managers’ tool box and lead to better integration of human dimensions into human–wildlife conflict management.