Student Research Profile: Stephen Decker, PhD Candidate

Stephen’s work focuses on the human dimensions of wildlife management. His research is based in Newfoundland and Labrador where provincial resource managers face a range of wildlife management issues, some of the most prominent being significant declines in caribou (Rangifer tarandus) populations in both the Newfoundland and Labrador portions of the province, several hundred vehicle – moose (Alces alces) collisions annually, the impact of hyper-abundant moose on native vegetation and the resulting cull of moose in Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks, and the range expansion and impacts of the eastern coyote (Canis latrans).

In many areas around the world failure to give more than token attention to the knowledge and opinions of local communities and resource users has resulted in opposition to resource and wildlife management efforts. To assess such challenges, the field of wildlife management continues to evolve toward more interdisciplinary, integrative approaches. Stephen’s research examines caribou management efforts in Insular Newfoundland to explore the extent to which such trends toward more integrative approaches in wildlife management are manifest on the ground. Stephen’s work will help identify and contribute to a better understanding of barriers and for improving opportunities for collaboration between wildlife managers and local residents.