Predicting the ecological and conservation significances of human influences on wildlife populations is difficult. However, methodological developments can help make the transition from count-based field data on individuals to rate-based demographic estimates.
Researchers synthesized tools from multiple fields of study to assess population-level consequences of anthropogenic stressors on terrestrial wildlife. The five steps to this framework are: 1) framing the problem to identify species, populations, and assessment parameters; 2) field-based measurement of the effect of the stressor on individuals; 3) characterizing the location and size of the populations of interest; 4) demographic modeling for those populations; and 5) assessing the significance of stressor-induced changes in demographic rates. They use two example species to illustrate their technique, which reveal unexpectedly greater potential risks from stressors for the more common and widely distributed species. Authors discuss key strengths of the framework and identify important developments to make it still more broadly applicable.
Katzner, T.E., Braham, M.A., Conkling, T.J., Diffendorfer, J.E., Duerr, A.E., Loss, S.R., Nelson, D.M., Vander Zanden, H.B., Yee, J.L., 2020, Assessing population-level consequences of anthropogenic stressors for terrestrial wildlife: Ecosphere, v. 11, no. 3, p. e03046, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3046