The sociopolitical dimensions of wolf management and restoration in the United States

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    Abstract

    This article examines the political cultural context and sociopolitical dimensions of wolf management and restoration in the United States. Drawing on the experiences of various wolf programs throughout the country, including New England, the Northern Rockies, Upper-Midwest, Southwest, and Yellowstone National Park, it documents how wolves are often used as a political symbol and surrogate for a number of socially significant policy issues. It also examines the politics of problem definition in the policymaking process. A "politics" model of public policy is used as an analytical framework to examine the following dimensions that are inextricably tied to the debate over wolf management and recovery: land use and the politics of ecosystem management; wilderness preservation; The Wildlands Project and the role of conservation biology in political decisionmaking; the merits and future of the Endangered Species Act; rural culture, concerns and interests; and the contested role of science and public participation in wildlife policymaking and management. The article ends with a discussion of how these sociopolitical and contextual variables affect political decisionmakers and those responsible for wolf management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalHuman Ecology Review
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2001

    Keywords

    • Endangered species management
    • Wildlife policy
    • Wolf reintroduction
    • Wolves

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