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Title: Assessing the effectiveness of conservation measures : resolving the "wicked" problem of the Steller sea lion
Authors: Boyd, Ian Lamont
Keywords: Wicked
QH301 Biology
Issue Date: Jul-2010
Citation: Boyd , I L 2010 , ' Assessing the effectiveness of conservation measures : resolving the "wicked" problem of the Steller sea lion ' Biological Conservation , vol 143 , no. 7 , pp. 1664-1674 . , 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.04.006
Abstract: “Wicked” problems are those that are complex and that change when solutions are applied. Many conflicts in conservation fall in to this category. The study approached the problem of how to constrain the apparent wickedness of a problem in the conservation management of a species by using simple empirical indicators to carry out iterative assessment of the risk to a population and to document how this risk evolves in relation to the addition of new data and the implementation of management actions. Effects of high levels of uncertainty within data and also concerning population structure were examined through stochastic simulation and by exploration of scenarios. Historical trends in the example used, the Steller sea lion, showed rapid declines in abundance in some regions during the 1980s. The current total population is 130,000-150,000 Steller sea lions through Alaska and British Columbia and this number has been stable since about 1990 in spite of regional differences in population dynamics. Regional differences in the sequence of changes in the number of pups and non-pups, suggested that an internal re-distribution of juveniles could have happened between 1980 and 1990. Current productivity also appears close to the long term mean. Stochastic population projection using various scenarios showed that, based upon this history, the risk of extinction for the population has declined and is below reasonable thresholds for considering the population to be endangered.
Version: Postprint
Status: Peer reviewed
ISSN: 0006-3207
Type: Journal article
Rights: This is an author version of the article. The published version, (c)2010 Elsevier is available from
Appears in Collections:University of St Andrews Research
Biology Research
NERC Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) Research
Scottish Oceans Institute Research

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