Genetic Management of Small Populations
Species extinction rates around the world represent the most massive loss of species since the Cretaceous Era. Species undergoing noncyclical population declines tend to follow a common pattern where overall population numbers first decline and then these large, continuous populations become small, fragmented, and isolated. Genetic and demographic studies should be carried out over a long period of time on a variety of populations to establish valid within-population and among-population recovery objectives. Genetic management is an important concern for population managers at the local, regional, and national levels. A variety of techniques is available to address population management concerns, and while several may be necessary to address issues, every state or region has numerous individuals who can provide assistance. Finally, professional resource managers need to promote closer dialog among theoretical geneticists, population biologists, and wildlife managers if we are to curb extinction rates.