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dc.contributor.authorCrawford, Brian Andrew
dc.description.abstractNatural resource managers frequently face difficult decisions for wicked conservation issues that include multiple threats and management options, competing objectives (e.g., biodiversity, human well-being), diverse stakeholder preferences, and uncertainty of decision outcomes. Structured decision making (SDM) has emerged as an effective tool for addressing such contexts, but SDM has not been applied to one widespread conservation issue: roads. Roads pose a substantial challenge as they simultaneously represent a pervasive threat to wildlife populations and infrastructure important for people’s daily lives and local economies. We describe the co-development of a multi-objective SDM framework with local stakeholders to identify management decisions using the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) as a focal species and the Jekyll Island Causeway (JIC: Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA) as a model system. Stakeholders specified multiple objectives, including maximizing terrapin population persistence, maximizing patron satisfaction, and minimizing project costs. We employed integrated modeling and decision analysis to explicitly link threats and management actions to population and socioeconomic outcomes. Models were informed by empirical work estimating the effects of roadside vegetation on nest predation, effects of current and potential management actions on terrapin survival and population viability, and management preferences of JIC user groups. We found that two management devices deployed on the JIC (roadside barriers and flashing warning signage) significantly reduced road threats, but the terrapin population continued to decline in the absence of additional actions. The best-performing management strategy was robust to differences in stakeholder values and included complementary actions such as roadside barriers, on-road signage, and vegetation and predator removal. This study demonstrates the efficacy of applying SDM to road management contexts and the need for incorporating human dimensions data into SDM to more accurately represent social objective outcomes. Results from flashing signage on the JIC and additional work using social marketing interventions to address diverse human-wildlife conflicts showed that positive conservation outcomes are achievable through changing human behaviors. Ultimately, the approaches employed in this work – understanding species life history and behavior, focusing on multiple threats and objectives, and integrating people into management solutions – should assist managers in reaching defendable decisions for other challenging conservation issues.
dc.subjectBayesian analysis
dc.subjectbehavior interventions
dc.subjectconservation management
dc.subjectdecision analysis
dc.subjectdiamondback terrapins
dc.subjectMalaclemys terrapin
dc.subjectpopulation viability analysis
dc.subjectstructured decision making
dc.titleRoads, reptiles, and recovery
dc.title.alternativeapplying a collaborative decision-making approach for diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) conservation in Georgia
dc.description.departmentDaniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
dc.description.majorForest Resources
dc.description.advisorJohn C Maerz
dc.description.committeeJohn C Maerz
dc.description.committeeTerry Norton
dc.description.committeeClinton T. Moore
dc.description.committeeNik Heynen

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