STAKEHOLDER CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES: APPLYING A SOCIO- ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK TO INTEGRATE HUMAN DIMENSIONS WITH U.S. WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
Gedeon, Taylor Marie
Shaffer, L. Jen
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Wildlife practitioners face growing pressures to work at the interface of ecological and social issues yet the model they use in the United States, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAMWC), relies heavily on natural sciences. Inclusion of social science perspectives is needed to provide a consistent methodology to assess the current and desired conditions of both wildlife and humans. Current state wildlife practitioners offer a unique perspective into the challenges that exist barring this integration. Through semi-structured interviews with wildlife managers in Maryland and Florida, this research explores current definitions of the term stakeholder, stakeholder role, agency role, and the applicability of a socio- ecological approach for native versus nonnative species. Interviews revealed inherent issues with the NAMWC, and challenges and opportunities for the integration of human dimensions. By understanding existing challenges and opportunities, agencies can begin to develop holistic solutions for the increasing demands of human-wildlife conflict.