While we rightly strive to reverse downward trends in biodiversity on agricultural land, in aquatic habitats and in forest, and to enhance biodiversity in urban and suburban areas, there are continuing conflicts in some areas between wildlife and man, especially in man-modified habitats. Resolution of these conflicts requires detailed knowledge of the ecology and behaviour, and sometimes the physiology, of species that cause problems in order to identify the most promising lines of mitigation. These should ideally be target specific and have as little effect as possible on the wider environment. Approaches to vertebrate pest management must therefore be ecologically based and in Europe this is incorporated into legislation aimed at bird and habitat protection. The entry of additional member states into the European Union extends the geographical limits of this legislation and requires harmonisation across the EU.
The European Vertebrate Pest Management Conferences aim to bring together scientists from the EU and further afi eld in order to facilitate communication and experience-sharing among those involved with wildlife management and wildlife protection. This volume brings together papers that were presented at the 4th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference, held in Parma, Italy, in September 2003.
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