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23 April 2019 Liberalized harvest regulations have not affected overabundant Snow Geese in Northern Manitoba
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Abstract

Large amounts of money are spent each year to control overabundant species that imperil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning across the globe. Lesser Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens) are emblematic of this issue, as their overabundance has affected a whole suite of plant, insect, and bird communities via a trophic cascade that managers have attempted to stop before it spreads further across the North American (sub)Arctic. To achieve this goal, liberalized harvest measures designed to decrease Lesser Snow Goose survival and abundance were implemented almost 2 decades ago. Our previous quantitative assessment of management effectiveness indicated that the growing Lesser Snow Goose population quickly overwhelmed a satiated hunter population despite liberalized harvest regulations, eventually reducing the fraction of Lesser Snow Geese being harvested each year. Consistent with the philosophy of adaptive resource management, we apply improved methods to additional years of monitoring data to evaluate the ongoing impact of harvest conservation efforts on Lesser Snow Goose harvest rates. Our previous results suggested little effect of liberalized harvest regulations on harvest rates, but our new findings suggest even less of an impact. Harvest rates have recently stabilized at ∼3%, the lowest levels observed over the last 48 yr of our study. Barring adverse effects of environmental change on natural mortality or reproductive success, additional measures will need to be taken to reduce Lesser Snow Goose overabundance and their ecosystem damage.

Copyright ©American Ornithological Society 2019. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
David N. Koons, Lise M. Aubry, and Robert F. Rockwell "Liberalized harvest regulations have not affected overabundant Snow Geese in Northern Manitoba," The Condor 121(2), 1-13, (23 April 2019). https://doi.org/10.1093/condor/duz006
Received: 27 August 2018; Accepted: 8 February 2019; Published: 23 April 2019
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