Principles of behavior and their relevance to ecosystem management.
Provenza, Frederick*,1, 1 Utah State University, Logan, UT
ABSTRACT- Since the 17th century, and increasingly during the 20th century, scientists and land managers alike have come to view animals as machine-like things whose behavior is to be predicted from the likes of mathematical models and managed with the likes of fences. In our quest to understand and manipulate these machines we have focused on means and populations, with little regard for individuals and variation, and in so doing, we have come to ignore the power of behavior to transform systems, despite compelling evidence. The environment, continually interacting with the genome during the growth and development of an organism, creates behavioral responses. Though experiences during development in utero and early in life are especially critical, genome-environment interactions continue throughout life. Thus, animals are adapting to ongoing changes in social and physical environments every day of their lives. The only question is whether or not people want to be a part of that process. For those willing to understand how environments interact with the genome to influence behavior, the potential is virtually unlimited. Once mastered, behavioral principles and practices provide an array of solutions to the problems people face in managing to improve the integrity of the land and of all peoples whose livelihoods depend upon the land. Unlike infrastructures such as corrals, fences, and water developments, behavioral solutions cost very little to implement and they are easily transferred from one situation to the next. Moreover, they are increasingly attractive for rejuvenating landscapes, given growing economic and environmental concerns with fire, herbicides, and mechanical means of manipulating landscapes.
Key words: behavior, principles, processes, ecosystem management
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