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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

Large-scale increases and expansion of common raven (Corvus corax; raven) populations are occurring across much of North America, leading to increased negative consequences for livestock and agriculture, human health and safety, and sensitive species conservation. We describe a science-based adaptive management framework that incorporates recent quantitative analyses and mapping products for addressing areas with elevated raven numbers and minimizing potential adverse impacts to sensitive species, agricultural damage, and human safety. The framework comprises 5 steps: (1) desktop analysis; (2) field assessments; (3) comparison of raven density estimates to an ecological threshold (in terms of either density or density plus distance to nearest active or previous nest); (4) prescribing management options using a 3-tiered process (i.e., habitat improvements, subsidy reductions, and direct actions using StallPOPd.V4 software); and (5) post-management monitoring. The framework is integrated within the Science-based Management of Ravens Tool (SMaRT), a web-based application outfitted with a user-friendly interface that guides managers through each step to develop a fully customized adaptive plan for raven management. In the SMaRT interface, users can: (1) interact with pre-loaded maps of raven occurrence and density and define their own areas of interest within the Great Basin to delineate proposed survey or treatment sites; (2) enter site-level density estimates from distance sampling methods or perform estimation of raven densities using the rapid assessment protocol that we provide; (3) compare site-level density estimates to an identified ecological threshold; and (4) produce a list of potential management options for their consideration. The SMaRT supports decision-making by operationalizing scientific products for raven management and facilitates realization of diverse management goals including sensitive species conservation, protection of livestock and agriculture, safeguarding human health, and addressing raven overabundance and expansion. We illustrate the use of the framework through SMaRT using an example of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) conservation efforts within the Great Basin, USA.

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