This special double issue is a product of the 7th International Symposium on Grouse, held on 20–24 August 1996 in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The symposium was jointly organised by the World Pheasant Association (WPA), the Grouse Specialist Group (GSG), the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW), and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), and was hosted by Clait E. Braun (CDOW) and Kathy Martin (CWS).
The six previous triannial symposia on grouse have all been held in Europe. This was the first time we crossed the Atlantic: Eight of the 17 species of grouse are endemic to the American continent; therefore, we felt a need for better representation of North American work at the grouse symposia, and an opportunity to improve exchange between grouse experts worldwide.
The overall theme of the 7th symposium was Management and Conservation. Grouse are popular game species throughout their range; on the other hand, many populations are declining and threatened with extinction. The major causes for this lie in anthropogenic loss and deterioration of habitats, whether due to forestry or agricultural practices or urban development. New ideas in conservation biology have much to offer grouse biologists and managers who are facing these problems. Therefore, concepts at the interface between wildlife science and management and conservation practice, e.g. metapopulation dynamics, were among the most highly debated topics at the symposium.
It is the goal of the grouse symposia to maintain high scientific standards, and to produce peer-reviewed publications. Therefore, I am happy to see the proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Grouse published as a special double issue of Wildlife Biology. Under the direction of Clait E. Braun and the assistance of R. J. Gutiérrez, who served as the Special Editors of this double issue, all submitted papers were reviewed by two anonymous referees, and pre-selected for acceptance. Because of Clait E. Braun's new obligations as the President of The Wildlife Society, and the need for timely publication of the proceedings, the final editing process was transferred to Wildlife Biology. Several colleagues were involved in editing manuscripts that needed revisions (R. J. Gutiérrez, Harto Lindén, Jon E. Swenson, Ilse Storch). To reflect the full range of topics discussed at the symposium, edited abstracts of all the presentations, oral and posters, are included in this volume.
I thank the editors of these proceedings, Clait E. Braun and R. J. Gutiérrez, and also the many colleagues who critically refereed the manuscripts, and R. J. Gutiérrez, Harto Lindén, and Jon E. Swenson for working with the authors on revisions of their papers. I also thank Mark Seamans, Peter Carlson and M. Zachariah Peery for having proof read the abstracts. At Wildlife Biology, my thanks particularly go to Harto Lindén, Editor-in-Chief, for his always constructive cooperation even during the more difficult stages along the way from symposium to publication, and to Jan Bertelsen and Helle Jensen at the Editorial Office for putting these proceedings and abstracts into print. Thanks also to everybody who contributed to make the symposium at Fort Collins a success.
At the same time, I am pleased to announce the 8th International Symposium on Grouse that will be held at the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi, northern Finland, on September 13–17, 1999.1 invite all the readers to mark these dates in their calendars, and to join us in Finland to recreate the stimulating scientific forum that characterised the meeting in Fort Collins.