The rapid increase in abundance of lesser snow goose (LSG; Chen caerulescens caerulescens) numbers and their devastating effects on arctic and subarctic habitats has inspired much research on the use of population models for defining appropriate management policies. We use the not yet considered metapopulation approach to examine the elasticity of mid-continent LSG population dynamics to changes in underlying vital rates to determine whether management efforts aimed at decreasing burgeoning numbers should be reevaluated. After considering a variety of geographic scenarios in the metapopulation model, we found that changes in survival would still have a larger impact on population dynamics relative to equal proportionate changes in other vital rates, but where these changes geographically occur could be of critical importance. In some instances, changes in reproductive output could have notable effects on eventual abundance. These new findings suggest that spatial structure in demographic vital rates that underlie abundance distributions across locations and dispersal among colonies require additional research to help guide the management of LSG numbers.
Aubry, Lise M.; Rockwell, Robert F.; and Koons, David N.
"Metapopulation Dynamics of Mid-Continent Lesser Snow Geese: Implications for Management,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 4
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol4/iss2/5