Wildlife professionals require conceptually sound methods to integrate biological and social insights for management of wildlife. The concept of acceptance capacity has been suggested to stimulate integration, although methods to link measures of acceptance capacity with measures of wildlife populations are not fully developed. To clarify relationships between acceptance capacity, wildlife populations, and human values, we explored effects of stakeholder characteristics and impact perception (the recognized, important effects arising from interactions with wildlife) on acceptance capacity. We used a mail-back questionnaire (n = 2,190 responses) to rural residents of southern Michigan 1) to examine whether 3 commonly identified stakeholder groups (hunters, farmers, and nonhunting, nonfarming rural residents) that share a common landscape also perceive similar suites of impacts and hold comparable acceptance capacities for white-tailed deer, and 2) to develop an explanatory model of acceptance capacity for deer. Comparisons among stakeholder groups revealed differences in perception of impacts resulting from interactions with deer; however, participation in hunting and farming were poor predictors of acceptance capacity for deer. Model selection criteria indicate that total effect of impacts perceived explains a majority of variation in acceptance capacity. We conclude that impact perception is a meaningful concept for integration of human values into management of wildlife populations because impacts relate to effects of current wildlife populations and can lead to management actions that address needs and interests of multiple stakeholder groups in changing landscapes.
- Acceptance capacity
- White-tailed deer
- Odocoileus virginianus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation