Date of this Version
The Journal of Wildlife Management; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21333
Waterfowl monitoring, research, regulation, and adaptive planning are leading the way in supporting science-informed wildlife management. However, increasing societal demands on natural resources have created a greater need for adaptable and successful linkages between waterfowl science and management. We presented a special session at the 2016 North American Duck Symposium, Annapolis, Maryland, USA on the successes and challenges of linking research and management in waterfowl conservation, and we summarize those thoughts in this commentary. North American waterfowl management includes a diversity of actions including management of harvest and habitat. Decisions for waterfowl management are structured using decision analysis by incorporating stakeholder values into formal objectives, identifying research relevant to objectives, integrating scientific knowledge, and choosing an optimal strategy with respect to objectives. Recently, the consideration of the value of information has been proposed as a means to evaluate the utility of research designed to meet objectives. Despite these advances, the ability to conduct waterfowl research with direct management application may be increasingly difficult in research institutions for several reasons including reduced funding for applied research and the lower perceived value of applied versus theoretical research by some university academics. In addition, coordination between researchers and managers may be logistically constrained, and communication may be ineffective between the 2 groups. Strengthening these links would help develop stronger and more coordinated approaches for the conservation of waterfowl and the wetlands upon which they depend.