Conservation of Wildlife Populations: Demography, Genetics and Management / Edition 1

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Professor L. Scott Mills has been named a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow by the board of trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Conservation of Wildlife Populations provides an accessible introduction to the most relevant concepts and principles for solving real-world management problems in wildlife and conservation biology. Bringing together insights from traditionally disparate disciplines, the book shows how population biology addresses important questions involving the harvest, monitoring, and conservation of wildlife populations.

  • Covers the most up-to-date approaches for assessing factors that affect both population growth and interactions with other species, including predation, genetic changes, harvest, introduced species, viability analysis and habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • Is an essential guide for undergraduates and postgraduate students of wildlife biology, conservation biology, ecology, and environmental studies and an invaluable resource for practising managers on how population biology can be applied to wildlife conservation and management.

Artwork from the book is available to instructors online at An Instructor manual CD-ROM for this title is available. Please contact our Higher Education team at for more information.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An outstanding text highly suitable for our postgraduate students and even conservation scientists, offering an international perspective into the discipline of conservation and management of wildlife populations … .Mills has been particularly effective in getting down to the simple nuts and bolts of what may appear to be daunting concepts and equations for either the conceptually or statistically challenged ecologist." (New Zealand Journal of Ecology, Winter/Spring 2008)

“A well-organized, well-written, and entertaining introduction to the study of population biology ….Mills uses personal experience as a tool to infuse his message of ethics.” (Ecology)

“[Mills] writes in an engaging style … .Avoiding the temptation to see the world in black and white, Mills emphasizes that uncertainty is as much a part of conservation biology as the conceptual foundations and quantitative tools that make up our collective toolbox. Mills generally presents concepts in very understandable terms … he backs these up with numerous examples from his work and the broader literature. With this book under their belt, students will have the foundation to pursue more advanced coursework and understand why they should. In doing this, Mills has succeeded in filling an important void.” (Conservation Biology)

“Scott Mills has written a valuable advanced text for those who will be practitioners of wildlife management. Provides a nice blend of the negative human effects often seen in conservation texts, balanced with the importance of proactive wildlife management. Those looking for an advanced text on population management with numerous examples and effective integration of demography and genetic concepts along with a variety of standard and more recent management approaches will find this text a valuable resource.” (Journal of Heredity)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405121460
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/25/2006
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

L. Scott Mills is a Professor in the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana. His research and teaching integrates field studies with population models and genetic analyses to understand effects of human perturbations on wildlife populations.
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Table of Contents

List of boxes.

List of symbols.



PART I: Background to applied population biology.

1. The Big Picture: Human population dynamics meets applied population biology.


Population ecology of humans.

Extinction rates of other species.

Humans and sustainable harvest.

The big picture.

Further reading.

2. Designing studies and interpreting population biology data: how do we know what we know?.


Obtaining reliable facts through sampling.

Linking observed facts to ideasmind leads to understanding.

Ethics and the wildlife population biologist.


Further reading.

3. Genetic concepts and tools to support wildlife population biology.


What is genetic variation?.

Genetic markers used in wildlife population biology.

Insights into wildlife population biology using genetic tools.


Further reading.

4. Estimating population vital rates.

Estimating abundance and density.

Survival estimation.

Estimation of reproduction.

Sex ratio.


Further reading.


5. The simplest way to describe and project population growth: exponential and geometric change.


Fundamentals of geometric or exponential growth.

Causes and consequences of variation in population growth.

Quantifying population growth in a stochastic environment.


Further reading.

6. Density dependent population change.


Negative density dependence.

Positive density dependence.

The logistic: one simple model of negative density-dependent population growth.

Some counterintuitive dynamics: limit cycles and chaos.


Further reading.

7. Accounting for age and sex-specific differences: population projection models.


Anatomy of a population-projection matrix.

How timing of sampling affects the matrix.

Projecting a matrix through time.

Adding stochasticity to a matrix model.

Sensitivity analysis.

Case studies.


Further reading.

8. Predation and wildlife populations.

Does predation affect prey numbers?.

Factors affecting how predation impacts prey numbers.


Further reading.

9. Genetic Variation and Fitness of Wildlife Populations.


Long-term benefits of genetic variation.

What determines levels of genetic variation in populations?.

Quantifying the loss of heterozygosity: the inbreeding coefficient.

When does inbreeding lead to inbreeding depression?.

What to do when faced with inbreeding depression?.

General Rules.


Further reading.

10. Dynamics of Multiple Populations.


Connectivity among populations.

Measuring connectivity among wildlife populations.

Multiple populations are not all equal.

Options for restoring connectivity.


Further reading.


11. Human Perturbations: Deterministic Factors Leading to Population Decline.


General effects of deterministic stressors on populations.

Habitat loss and fragmentation.

Introduced and invasive species.



Global climate change.

Synergistic effects among deterministic stressors.


Further reading.

12. Predicting the dynamics of small and declining populations.


Ecological characteristics predicting risk.

The extinction vortex.

Predicting risks in small populations.

Population viability analysis: quantitative methods of assessing viability.

Other approaches to assessing viability.

Some closing thoughts about assessing viability.


Further reading.

13. Bridging applied population and ecosystem ecology with focal species concepts.


Flagship species.

Umbrella species.

Indicator species.

Keystone species and strong interactors.


Further reading.

14. Population biology of harvested populations.


Effects of hunting on population dynamics.

Long term effects: hunting as a selective force.

Models to guide sustainable harvests.

Waterfowl harvest and adaptive harvest management.

Management of overabundant and pest populations.


Further reading.



Species lists.

Subject index.

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