Building biological realism into wolf management policy: the development of the population approach in Europe
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Norwegian Institute of Nature Research PO Box 5685 Sluppen NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway
Department of Animal and Human Biology Sapienza University of Rome Viale dell'Università 32 00185 Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2011-07-29
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2012;23(1):80-91

During the last few decades wolf management has largely switched from state sponsored control to conservation. Following this change in status there has been a succession of changes in policy approaches that have sought to balance the ecological needs of wolves with the political structures that govern our continent and the challenges of sharing our landscapes with them in the face of diverse conflicts with rural interests. One of the most crucial challenges is adapting to the scale at which wolf populations operate. Their low densities and wide ranging movements result in biological populations that span many national and international jurisdictions. We describe a series of steps which have been adopted over the years to integrate the idea of managing wolves at a biologically realistic scale into the policies of the two major pan-European legislative frameworks, the Bern Convention and the Habitats Directive. This has resulted in a set of guidelines, endorsed by both the European Commission’s DG Environment and the Bern Convention Standing Committee, that aim to chart out a future for wolf conservation based on managing wolf populations within their biological borders and adopting coordinated, yet flexible and pragmatic, polices.

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