Human-carnivore dynamics in Blaine county, Idaho: a social-ecological systems approach to coexistence

Authors: Anna Holland-Levine*, University of Alabama
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Human-Environment Geography, Animal Geographies
Keywords: social-ecological systems, coexistence, carnivore conservation, mutidisciplinary
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



Blaine county, Idaho, is home to 21,378 people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017) and 14,600 head of sheep grazing approximately 369,124 acres of both public and private lands in the Ketchum Ranger District and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Blaine County Comprehensive Plan, 2018). The area is also home to an undetermined number of mountain lions, wolves, and bears. Large carnivores require large home ranges, which frequently puts them into contact, competition, and conflict with humans and makes their conservation difficult. In the last four decades attitudes toward carnivores and their role in ecosystems have evolved, resulting in contentious efforts to conserve, restore, and co-exist with carnivore populations for the first time in US history. More information is needed to assess the spatial, social, and ecological relationships between humans, herds, and large carnivores. Using the Social-Ecological Systems Framework enables the analysis of complex and bi-directional dynamics between system actors (eg. humans, carnivores, sheep companies, conservation organizations) and components at multiple levels of organization. This presentation outlines a social-ecological systems approach to examine the possibilities for both conflict and co-existence between human land use and safety and carnivore land use and conservation in Blaine county, with implications for land and large carnivore management.

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