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This book represents the results of a comprehensive study of the ecological processes of the central Yellowstone ecosystem carried out over the past 15 years by an integrated team of scientists and graduate students. It provides an authoritative work on the mechanisms underlying the spatial and temporal dynamics of large mammal predator-prey systems in natural ecosystems, and is directed to the scientific community, resource managers, policy makers and the interested public alike.
This area includes the range of one of the largest migratory populations of elk in North America and for the past century it has been at the heart of public debates over population regulation of large herbivores and ungulates and their impact on ecological processes. Since the reintroduction of wolves into the system a decade ago the scientific and public controversy has shifted to debates about the impacts of large predators on their ungulate prey and potential predator-induced trophic cascades. A part of central Yellowstone comprises the range of the large (2000-3500) migratory bison herd that summers in the high-elevation valleys in east-central Yellowstone, and winters along the headwaters of the Madison River to the west. This unique and diverse area of the Park and the opportunity it presents for studying ecological processes in a large pristine landscape has previously been largely ignored until this study.
The editors' vision is to build an integrated and multi-disciplinary research programme dedicated to: (1) producing objective science with the goal of advancing our knowledge of the central Yellowstone ecosystem; (2) supporting sound natural resource management, and (3) communicating their knowledge and discoveries to the visiting public to enhance their experience and enjoyment of the Park. They have developed a small and tight-knit team of scientists with complementary skills and expertise. Although there is ever-increasing discussion within the ecological community on the need to develop long-term, integrated and interdisciplinary research programmes examples of such programmes are relatively rare. The proposed book, synthesizing numerous projects, will have very broad appeal not only to academic ecologists, but also to natural resource managers, policy makers, biologists, and administrators.
This book features: unrivalled description of a classic and world famous ecosystem, involving information from a 15-year integrated and multidisciplinary study by numerous scientists; detailed analysis and comparison of two charismatic North American herbivore species - Elk and Bison; detailed description of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park - and their ecology and impact on the herbivores and ecosystem in general; a whole ecosystem view, putting the biology, ecology, management and human dimensions into context; and numerous colour photographs.