Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Georgia Project

Decision Support for Public Alligator Harvesting in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina

July 2012 - June 2017


Participating Agencies

  • CRU Program

Regulations for public alligator harvesting in the states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina are based on an assessment of current-year alligator population size against statistically-estimated historical trends in abundance. However, mechanistic models offer certain advantages over statistical models in that (1) they may be able to better predict harvest outcomes that are outside of historical experience, (2) they facilitate the making of optimal harvest decisions based on threshold conditions tied to the biology of the species, not the population's past performance, and (3) they provide a straightforward way to account for biological uncertainty about the response of populations to harvest management. In this project, we will employ a structured decision making approach to consider the problem of public alligator harvesting in the three participating state agencies. The approach will explicitly recognize the policy differences (management objectives and regulatory options) among the agencies, but it will take advantage of regional commonalities in population biology, habitat relationships, and sampling characteristics in the development of a set of decision models. Under this design, we expect that efficiencies can be created because the model set can be informed and improved by data contributed by any agency, and the models may indicate uncertainties toward which agencies can coordinate focused research efforts.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Crawford, T. G. 2023. Towards a decision-making culture in wildlife management: An integrative study of scientific decision support. PhD Dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens. May 2023