Review by Dennis Slate
I must confess my bias in reviewing State Wildlife Management and Conservation—I love history! At its essence, this is a history book that chronicles the role and evolution of state wildlife agencies (divisions, bureaus) in the management and conservation of wildlife in the US. I am also a wildlife biologist with nearly 40 yr of experience, so I appreciate the authors' and editor's efforts to capture this aspect of our wildlife management and conservation heritage in a single volume. However, why should a reader of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases add to their library a history book that has but one brief chapter dedicated to wildlife disease management?
As underscored in this book, for the first 150 yr the primary emphasis of state wildlife agencies was on regulating harvest of game and furbearing species. Since then, the addition of several other topics has formed a more diversified mosaic of issues within the present-day mission of the state wildlife agency, such as habitat, nongame species, threatened and endangered species, invasive species, human–wildlife conflicts, and human dimensions. Oh, yes, add to this list attention to wildlife diseases as an integral area of focus for many state wildlife agencies. Brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, bovine tuberculosis, and avian influenza are among the notable disease catalysts behind this broadened interest.
As poignantly emphasized in the chapter on State Management of Wildlife Disease, state wildlife agencies will be challenged in the future to provide expertise to conduct wildlife disease investigations and control programs in nearly all facets of wildlife management and conservation. In the face of changing landscapes, climate, and public attitudes among a diversifying constituency, greater capacity among state agency responsiveness on behalf of wildlife health seems a safe bet! Yet it is not the chapter on wildlife disease management that is driving my recommendation that readers of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases consider adding this book to their libraries. Although this brief chapter is an integral part of this book, it is the topics covered in other chapters that drive my recommendation, including the public trust doctrine and the legal basis for state wildlife management, the role of human dimensions, research, and human–wildlife conflicts. Collectively, these 14 chapters provide readers with a more comprehensive understanding of the state wildlife agency regulatory responsibility and niche for providing the best management practices across a diverse range of taxa under their purview, which by default includes considerations for wildlife health.
For many, this book will not likely be a sit-down and read cover-to-cover experience. Rather, it fits more as an important one-stop shopping reference for the milestones and contributions of state wildlife agencies to date, with adequate references within each chapter to further explore topics of interest. Unfortunately, the book does not include a chapter specific to several important topics, such as collaboration and cooperation with other state and federal agencies, Native Americans, groups, and organizations. However, the need for and value of effective partnerships is mentioned within specific chapters.
This book concludes appropriately, by scanning the radar image to identify future needs in the face of key challenges such as habitat degradation, climate change, and invasive species. The stress these factors have begun to, and will continue to, exert on the health of indigenous species points to the need for adaptive wildlife management strategies that surely should include a strong focus on disease detection and intervention—common fodder for the Journal of Wildlife Diseases reader.
Edited by Charles Rupprecht email@example.com
Book reviews express the opinions of the individual authors regarding the value of the book's content for Journal of Wildlife Diseases readers. The reviews are subjective assessments and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, nor do they establish any official policy of the Wildlife Disease Association.