In this chapter we explore how behavior can be taken into account in quantitative population management. Indeed, incorporating behavior in management should take place at all levels of the management process, including in quantitative population management. Quantitative tools are often used to compare management scenarios and can play an integrative role in adaptive management strategies. Whether we envision behavior as a process amenable to management or a constraint impairing population processes, its integration into quantitative tools is likely to make these tools more efficient and more resilient to uncertainty.
The interplay between behavior and population management and, in particular, conservation, is well-rooted in the late 1990s conservation science literature, a period where many behavioral ecologists came forward to discuss the potential contributions of behavioral ecology for conservation (Caro 1998, Sutherland 1998, Gosling & Sutherland 2000). They argued that behavioral ecology could contribute to conservation science not only as a tool for the management of particular species, as ex-situ conservation programs had often done, but by offering conceptual tools that could contribute to better understanding the extinction process. Behavioral ecology could, in particular, help us understand species’ capability to adapt to anthropogenic disturbance (Sutherland & Norris 2002, Sutherland 2006) and predict their vulnerability (Anthony & Blumstein 2000, Sutherland & Norris 2002).
Behavior is a fundamental element in the dynamics of animal populations, as many processes affecting these dynamics are rooted in individual behavior (Sutherland 1996). Animal behavior can be defined as being the range of actions made by organisms in response to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary. Behavior therefore serves as a fundamental link between the single organism and population processes. Population management typically focuses on factors that determine presence, survival and reproductive rates, which are largely mediated by behavior. Hence, behavior may be integrated in management by identifying the key behavioral responses underlying the population processes that managers seek to address.
Many behavioral responses are indeed already part of the manager's toolbox. If we focus on the three population processes mentioned above (presence, survival and reproduction), we easily find a myriad of examples almost as diverse as the study cases and the management goals (conservation, exploitation, eradication).