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Decker, D.J., J.F. Organ, A.B. Forstchen, C.A. Jacobson, W.F. Siemer, C.A. Smith, P.E. Lederle, and M.V. Schiavone. 2017. Wildlife governance in the 21st century - will sustainable use endure? Wildlife Society Bulletin 41:821-826. DOI10.1002/wsb.830


In light of the trajectory of wildlife governance in the United States, the future of sustainable use of wildlife is a topic of substantial interest in the wildlife conservation community. We examine sustainable-use principles with respect to “good governance” considerations and public trust administration principles to assess how sustainable use might fare in the 21st century. We conclude that sustainable-use principles are compatible with recently articulated wildlife governance principles and could serve to mitigate broad values and norm shifts in American society that affect social acceptability of particular uses. Wildlife governance principles emphasize inclusive discourse among diverse wildlife interests, which could minimize isolated exchanges among cliques of like-minded people pursuing their ambitions without seeking opportunity for sharing or understanding diverse views. Aligning governance practices with wildlife governance principles can help avoid such isolation. In summary, sustainable use of wildlife is likely to endure as long as society 1) believes the long-termsustainability of wildlife is not jeopardized, and 2) accepts practices associated with such use as legitimate. These are 2 criteria needing constant attention. 2017 The Wildlife Society.