The Grizzly Bears of Yellowstone: Their Ecology in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, 1959-1992

Jay S. Sumner; John J. Craighead; John A. Mitchell




Island Pr

Publication Date:




In this book, Dr. John J. Craighead and his long-time research colleagues, Jay S. Sumner and John A. Mitchell, have brought together years of data detailing the natural history, reproductive biology, social behavior, population dynamics, and habitat use patterns of the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone ecosystem from 1959 through 1992, as well as the results of complementary studies conducted by John Craighead in wilderness areas of Montana and Alaska. Their interpretations of the data have far-reaching management implications, not only for the grizzly but for the holistic management of large regional ecosystems. This study is an example of long-term ecological research that is unparalleled in its combination of foresight, continuity of effort, innovation of field techniques, and monumental scholarship. Additionally, the 1993 federal Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan is critiqued and an alternative plan is proposed. The authors state convincingly that the greatest threat to the survival of the grizzly bear is neither a lack of firm biological knowledge nor a lack of understanding in how to apply this information. Rather, the threat lies with our politico-economic system that demands unsustainable use of our public land and water resources. To preserve the grizzly and other species in perpetuity, our leaders must provide sustainable commodity production while preserving biological diversity and ecosystem structure and function on our public lands. Despite its massive size and fearsome strength, the grizzly bear cannot, without our help, compete successfully with the rapacious demands of humans for space and resources.

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