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Science, conservation, and camera traps

January 1, 2011

Biologists commonly perceive camera traps as a new tool that enables them to enter the hitherto secret world of wild animals. Camera traps are being used in a wide range of studies dealing with animal ecology, behavior, and conservation. Our intention in this volume is not to simply present the various uses of camera traps, but to focus on their use in the conduct of science and conservation. In this chapter, we provide an overview of these two broad classes of endeavor and sketch the manner in which camera traps are likely to be able to contribute to them. Our main point here is that neither photographs of individual animals, nor detection history data, nor parameter estimates generated from detection histories are the ultimate objective of a camera trap study directed at either science or management. Instead, the ultimate objectives are best viewed as either gaining an understanding of how ecological systems work (science) or trying to make wise decisions that move systems from less desirable to more desirable states (conservation, management). Therefore, we briefly describe here basic approaches to science and management, emphasizing the role of field data and associated analyses in these processes. We provide examples of ways in which camera trap data can inform science and management.

Publication Year 2011
Title Science, conservation, and camera traps
DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-99495-4_4
Authors James D. Nichols, K. Ullas Karanth, Allan F. O'Connel
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70003436
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center