Stephen Decker (PhD Student, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON Canada) was introduced to the field of Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management (HDWM) by Dr. Alistair Bath during his Master’s degree training in Geography at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. His Master’s research, which was partially funded by the Large Herbivore Foundation (LHF), focused on the human dimensions of a reintroduction of free ranging European bison into the Rothaargebirge area of Germany, see one of his articles generated from this research.
Since beginning HDWM research in Germany he attended LHF conferences and network meetings in Germany, Belgium, Ukraine and the Netherlands. At these conferences he had the opportunity to present his research findings, facilitate breakout sessions, and develop a valuable network of international wildlife management experts. His work has allowed him to meet dedicated nature conservationists who are interested in more effectively addressing the human dimensions of their respective conservation efforts.
"I am fortunate to have also had the opportunity to explore issues relating to nature and wildlife conservation from an academic perspective as a professor of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Resource Management at a campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland Memorial University of Newfoundland.
In my current doctoral studies in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada I am continuing my HDWM training and I am also expanding in to the broader field of integrated resource management. Under the supervision of my supervisor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Dr. Kevin Hanna, and my co-supervisor, Dr. Dan Decker (no relation), at Cornell University in New York, my PhD research is focused on more integrated approaches to wildlife management in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. I am excited to have the opportunity to apply some of the research techniques I have used in other countries to wildlife management situations in my home province. I am confident that my research will help shed light on resource user – resource manager collaboration in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and other similarly contentious resource management settings across Canada and around the world. My current research is funded by the prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier – Canadian Graduate Scholarship.
In many areas around the world, failure to effectively listen and respond to the knowledge and opinions of resource users and interest groups has resulted in strong opposition to resource and wildlife management efforts. The severity and frequency of these conflicts can be expected to increase as human populations expand, as members of the public become more aware of their right to play a role in decision making, and as accelerated global climate changes usher in a new suite of human-wildlife interactions. Undoubtedly, the field of human dimensions of wildlife management is a field is of growing importance to today’s nature and wildlife conservationists and mangers.
I appreciate the opportunity to include my name with the impressive inventory of accomplished experts listed here. I very much look forward to my continued work with the Large Herbivore Foundation and its network members. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or research ideas you may have regarding the human dimensions of nature and wildlife conservation and management."