Synopses & Reviews
This book represents the results of a comprehensive study of the ecological processes of the central Yellowstone ecosystem carried out over the past 15 years by an integrated team of scientists and graduate students. It provides an authoritative work on the mechanisms underlying the spatial and temporal dynamics of large mammal predator-prey systems in natural ecosystems, and is directed to the scientific community, resource managers, policy makers and the interested public alike.
This area includes the range of one of the largest migratory populations of elk in North America and for the past century it has been at the heart of public debates over population regulation of large herbivores and ungulates and their impact on ecological processes. Since the reintroduction of wolves into the system a decade ago the scientific and public controversy has shifted to debates about the impacts of large predators on their ungulate prey and potential predator-induced trophic cascades.
A part of central Yellowstone comprises the range of the large (2000-3500) migratory bison herd that summers in the high-elevation valleys in east-central Yellowstone, and winters along the headwaters of the Madison River to the west. This unique and diverse area of the Park and the opportunity it presents for studying ecological processes in a large pristine landscape has previously been largely ignored until this study.
The Editors vision is to build an integrated and multidisciplinary research program dedicated to: (1) producing objective science with the goal of advancing our knowledge of the central Yellowstone ecosystem; (2) supporting sound natural resource management, and (3) communicating theirknowledge and discoveries to the visiting public to enhance their experience and enjoyment of the Park. They have developed a small and tight-knit team of scientists with complementary skills and expertise.
Although there is ever-increasing discussion within the ecological community on the need to develop long-term, integrated and interdisciplinary research programs examples of such programs are relatively rare. The proposed book, synthesizing numerous projects will have very broad appeal not only to academic ecologists, but also to natural resource managers, policy makers, biologists, and administrators.
* Unrivalled description of a classic and world famous ecosystem, involving information from a 15 year integrated and multidisciplinary study by numerous scientists.
* Detailed analysis and comparison of two charismatic North American herbivore species - Elk and Bison
* Detailed description of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park - and their ecology and impact on the herbivores and ecosystem in general.
* A whole ecosystem view, putting the biology, ecology, management and human dimensions into context.
* Numerous colour photographs
This book is an authoritative work on the ecology of some of America’s most iconic large mammals in a natural environment - and of the interplay between climate, landscape, and animals in the interior of the world’s first and most famous national park.
Central Yellowstone includes the range of one of the largest migratory populations of bison in North America as well as a unique elk herd that remains in the park year round. These populations live in a varied landscape with seasonal and often extreme patterns of climate and food abundance. The reintroduction of wolves into the park a decade ago resulted in scientific and public controversy about the effect of large predators on their prey, a debate closely examined in the book.
Introductory chapters describe the geography, geology and vegetation of the ecosystem. The elk and bison are then introduced and their population ecology described both pre- and post– wolf introduction, enabling valuable insights into the demographic and behavioral consequences for their ungulate prey. Subsequent chapters describe the wildlife-human interactions and show how scientific research can inform the debate and policy issues surrounding winter recreation in Yellowstone. The book closes with a discussion of how this ecological knowledge can be used to educate the public, both about Yellowstone itself and about science, ecology and the environment in general.
Yellowstone National Park exemplifies some of the currently most hotly debated and high-profile ecological, wildlife management, and environmental policy issues and this book will have broad appeal not only to academic ecologists, but also to natural resource students, managers, biologists, policy makers, administrators and the general public.
* Unrivalled descriptions of ecological processes in a world famous ecosystem, based on information from 16 years of painstaking field work and collaborations among 66 scientists and technical experts and 15 graduate studies.
* Detailed studies of two charismatic North American herbivore species – elk and bison
* Description of the restoration of wolves into central Yellowstone and their ecological interactions with their elk and bison prey
* Illustrated with numerous evocative colour photographs and stunning maps
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Integrated science in the central Yellowstone ecosystem
LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE
Chapter 2 The central Yellowstone landscape: geology, terrain, vegetation
Chapter 3 Climate: good years, bad years, and long-term change
Chapter 4 Quantifying and mapping Yellowstone's unique geothermal landscape
Chapter 5 Snowpack dynamics: processes and models
Chapter 6 Meadow dynamics: a remote sensing approach
UNGULATE SPATIAL AND POPULATION DYNAMICS PRIOR TO WOLVES
Chapter 7 Elk population dynamics before wolves: A bottom-up system
Chapter 8 Elk spatial dynamics and resource use patterns: adaptation to a unique environment
Chapter 9 The Recovery of Yellowstone's Bison: a Century of Population Dynamics
Chapter 10 Bison range expansion: affected by the same mechanisms influencing migratory behavior?
WOLVES REESTABLISHMENT AND PREDATION
Chapter 11 Recolonization dynamics of a new wolf population
Chapter 12 Wolf movement patterns in relation to prey and kill sites
Chapter 13 Wolf prey selection in an elk-bison system: choice or circumstance?
Chapter 14 Estimation of predator kill rates using imperfect data
Chapter 15 Factors driving wolf predation rates: predictably variable?
Chapter 16 Alterations in elk group size to varying temporal and spatial wolf predation risks
Chapter 17 Alterations in elk winter foraging time: consequences of living in a risky environment
Chapter 18 Elk landscape use and winter movements: influenced by the environment or driven by fear?
Chapter 19 Characterizing elk resource selection responses to wolf predation risks
Chapter 20 Post-wolf elk population dynamics: strong top-down regulation?
Chapter 21 Alternative models of wolf-ungulate dynamics
Chapter 22 Comparison of wolf effects on ungulates in the Greater Yellowstone Area
Chapter 23 The winter recreation controversy
Chapter 24 Wildlife responses to park visitors in winter
Chapter 25 Bison winter road travel: facilitated by road grooming or a manifestation of natural trends?
Chapter 26 Aggregate effects of topography, habitat, snowpack, and roads on bison travel patterns
Chapter 27 Resolution of the winter recreation issue
COMMUNICATING ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AND CONTRIBUTING TO NATURAL
Chapter 28 Communicating ecological knowledge to students and the public
Chapter 29 Science in National Parks: expectations, limitations, and contributions