Small, isolated populations of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) typically have poor survival outlooks. Persistence of such populations will depend on either intrusive, resource-intensive management, or re-connection with other subpopulations through linkage habitat. Much of the discussion of linkage habitat focuses on ecological information. We cannot overlook, however, the cultural and political dimensions of these landscapes. People who have lived with recovering and expanding populations have valuable insight and practical knowledge that should inform management and conservation programs. Thus, these areas provide good prospects for designing innovative programs adapted to local situations. Capitalizing on such opportunities requires a systematic approach to understanding social context and involving local people in research and planning. Small-scale, participatory projects can provide models for subsequent conservation projects and build political support by demonstrating success. This paper provides a conceptual framework and a general strategy for achieving linkage habitat conservation. Lessons are drawn from a variety of emerging projects.
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