Technical Reviews

Editor: Theodore Bookhout
Frequency: As needed

Scope and Content

Technical Reviews are scientific analyses related to prominent topics and issues in wildlife science, management, conservation, and policy that are written by panels of experts and are often used in preparing TWS Position Statements. Information regarding the writing and review process for Technical Reviews can be found in A Guide to TWS Technical Reviews.


Technical Reviews can be accessed free of charge by downloading individual reports below. Note: you will be prompted to either log in or create a registered, non-member account, before the download will begin. Titles are listed chronologically within each category, starting with the most recent. Hard copies of Technical Reviews can also be purchased from the TWS Bookstore.



For questions and comments, please contact:

Keith Norris, AWB ®
Assistant Director of Government Affairs & Partnerships
(301) 897-9770 ext 309

Biological Diversity

Ungulate Management in the National Parks in the United States and Canada


December, 2012

Historically, many different strategies have been used to manage ungulates within national parks. Concern about the ecological impacts of ungulates, disease transmission, interactions with predator species, and conflicts between agencies has caused much deliberation over management. National parks need clear management goals and a plan for reviewing and adapting management as new knowledge is gained. The Wildlife Society convened an expert committee to analyze reviews of ungulate management in national parks, examine the    most significant issues facing management of ungulates in national parks of the U.S. and Canada, and provide recommendations to professionals grappling with these challenges. This Technical Review considers several ungulate species as well as predator species and vegetation impacted by ungulate management.

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Management of Large Mammalian Carnivores in North America


March, 2012
Revised August, 2012

As human populations expand, conflicts between larger carnivores and human interests, such as public safety and property value, are increasingly common. Yet these species are also vital components in maintaining healthy ecosystems in many regions. This review addresses the current management of larger mammalian carnivores to increase, maintain, or reduce their numbers, while taking into account the population of certain ungulate prey and their relation to predators, social pressures and attitudes of the public towards predators, and the effects of sport hunting and trapping on carnivore population dynamics. Species of carnivores evaluated in this review include: brown bears, black bears, coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions.

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Practical Solutions to Improve the Effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act for Wildlife Conservation


December, 2005

This review draws on our nation's more than 30 years of experience with the current version of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to identify problems limiting the successful implementation of the law with respect to listing, critical habitat designation, conservation on private lands, involvement of state fish and wildlife agencies, species recovery, interagency section 7 consultation, consideration of distinct population segments, and ensuring sound decisions. Nearly 60 funding, administrative, and legislative measures are provided to address these problems and improve the effectiveness of species conservation.


The Status of Northern Goshawks in the Western United States


February, 2004

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was petitioned in 1997 to consider listing northern goshawks under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS determined that listing was not warranted and based that decision on review of existing population and habitat information. This technical review considers technical information summarized in the FWS status review, published literature, and technical information that has become available subsequent to the FWS determination.


Northern Goshawk and Forest Management in the Southwestern United States


March, 1996

This report analyzes the scientific basis of the interim management guidelines resulting from the Management Recommendations for the Northern Goshawk in the Southwestern United States developed by the U.S. Forest Service. It also evaluates regional Forest Service policy implementing the interim guidelines and field application of those guidelines.


Wildlife Management in North American Wilderness

January, 1996

Increasing interest and concern with the designation and management of wilderness areas in North America is anticipated, and an overview of wildlife management in North American wilderness is an important first step in considering future directions or policies regarding wilderness management. While solutions to these challenges might be complex, some direction is suggested in this report.


Restoration of Wolves in North America

February, 1991

Restoration of gray wolves and red wolves to parts of their former ranges in the contiguous 48 states is in progress. Concern over effects of these restorations on livestock and other wildlife species is evident. Methods of restoration, management of restored populations, and perceptions and support for restoration are discussed in this technical review.


Energy Development & Climate Change

Effects of Bioenergy Production on Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat

December, 2012
Revised January, 2013

The production of biobased feedstocks (i.e., plant– or algal-based material use for transportation fuels, heat, power and bioproducts) for energy consumption has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Biomass now accounts for 4.1% of total U.S. primary energy production. Unfortunately, there are considerable knowledge gaps relative to implications of this industry expansion for wildlife. This review analyzes the latest scientific literature on the effects of growing, managing, and harvesting feedstocks for bioenergy on wildlife and wildlife habitat, and provides answers to questions and variables affecting bioenergy development and wildlife so that site managers might better predict consequences of managing bioenergy feedstocks. 

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Impacts of Crude Oil and Natural Gas Development on Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat in the Rocky Mountain Region

August, 2012

The Rocky Mountain region plays a significant role in meeting the growing energy needs of North America as well as supporting a variety of the fish and wildlife species relied upon by many stakeholders, including sportsmen, nature enthusiasts, and tourist-dependent businesses. This review analyzes the latest scientific literature on the impacts of crude oil and natural gas developments on wildlife and habitat in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. and Canada, examines the extent of these developments and processes used, and provides recommendations to wildlife professionals grappling with these challenges. The review considers ungulate species, greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), waterfowl, and songbirds.

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Impacts of Wind Energy Facilities on Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat

September, 2007

Development of wind power offers promise of contributing to renewable energy portfolios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from carbon-based sources. This report summarizes information on the impacts of wind energy facilities on wildlife and wildlife habitat, including state and federal permitting processes, wildlife fatality, habitat loss and modification, animal displacement and fragmentation, offshore development, and issues surrounding monitoring and research methodology, including the use of technological tools.


Global Climate Change and Wildlife in North America

December, 2004

The scientific community now widely recognizes that our planet is going through a period of rapid climate change that is enhanced by the anthropogenic atmospheric carbon enrichment of the last century. This rapid change has the potential to greatly affect wildlife species throughout North America, either directly or indirectly, through changes in local habitat conditions. This report investigates how climate change will affect specific types of wildlife and habitats across North America and addresses what can be done to better prepare for those affects.



Fish and Wildlife Response to Farm Bill Conservation Practices

September, 2007

Conservation benefits of the Farm Bill are allocated through the various conservation programs including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and other related programs. This report provides a summary documentation of the numerous benefits to fish and wildlife that can be produced through Farm Bill practices. ‘Download Now’ (link to: policy.technical reviews.wildlife response to farm bill 2007) Fish & Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation Programs Technical Review 05-2 October 2005 Farm Bill conservation programs are widely utilized by agricultural producers and are producing numerous and substantial conservation benefits. This publication updates Heard et al (2000) with new information concerning wildlife benefits derived from Farm Bill conservation programs.


Performance Measures for Ecosystem Management and Ecological Sustainability

March, 2002

Ecosystem management is a landscape planning approach to natural resource management that has the objectives of maintaining the full complement of biodiversity as well as ecosystem integrity while also integrating economic and social objectives. This report discusses ecological performance measures of ecosystem management that are also the basis for ecological sustainability.


1995 Farm Bill: Wildlife Options in Agricultural Policy

March, 1995

Federal farm policy impacts wildlife habitat on 400+ million acres of private farmland, more than any other single federal program. This report reviews Farm Bill conservation programs and offers recommendations for the 1995 Farm Bill.


Mitigation Banking and Wetlands Categorization: The Need for a National Policy on Wetlands

June, 1994

Wetlands represent a small fraction of land area, but they harbor an unusually large percentage of wildlife. When this report was published, the federal government and many states had implemented protective legislation and regulations, but none represented clearly defined national policy. This report provides a summary of methods of mitigation, mitigation banking, and classification of wetlands.


Harvest & Hunting

Baiting and Supplemental Feeding of Game Wildlife Species

December, 2006

Baiting and supplemental feeding of wildlife are complex and controversial issues. When practiced at low prevalence and intensity by knowledgeable personnel, baiting and feeding can provide beneficial effects, yet a lack of understanding of the potential risks and impacts can quickly compromise limited benefits and create long-term negative impacts. The present debate has prompted this review of current knowledge and understanding of baiting and supplemental feeding activities.


Biological and Social Issues Related to Confinement of Wild Ungulates

November, 2002

Commercial demand for hunting and for sale of live ungulates and their products has prompted the growth of a commercial industry that raises non-domesticated native ungulates within managed properties. The rapid expansion in number and acreage of fenced properties throughout North America has prompted a need for a review of the biological and social issues related to these management practices. This report reviews the primary biological and social issues directly and indirectly associated with confinement of wild ungulates.


The Role of Bowhunting in Wildlife Management


This report documents the growth of bowhunting in North America, reviews the types and purposes of equipment regulations, reviews and summarizes the literature relating to the efficacy of bowhunting and proficiency of bowhunters, documents current challenges to bowhunting, and identifies research needs. The urgency for this review grew out of the increase in bowhunting participation during the past 3 decades, its use as a population management tool, and more frequent challenges to the use of this tool by animal welfare and animal rights groups.


Traps, Trapping, and Furbearer Management: A Review

June, 1990

Traps of various types are used extensively in wildlife management, particularly in managing furbearers. This report summarizes current information on traps, trapping, and furbearer management in the U.S. and Canada, including discussion of associated biological, social, and economic issues.


Human Dimensions

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

December, 2012

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is a set of principles that, collectively applied, has led to the form, function, and success of wildlife conservation and management in the United States and Canada. This technical review documents the history and development of these principles, and evaluated current and potential future challenges to their application. Describing the Model as North American is done in a conceptual, not geographical, context. Wildlife conservation and management in Mexico developed at a different time and under different circumstances than in the U.S. and Canada. The latter two were hand in hand. The history, development, and status of wildlife conservation and management in Mexico are outlines separately as part of this review.

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The Public Trust Doctrine: Implications for Wildlife Management and Conservation in the United States and Canada

October, 2010

This technical review offers an essential and concise introduction to the concepts and history inherent in the Public Trust Doctrine (PTD). This doctrine represents an essential element of North American wildlife law, establishing a trustee role for government in the management of natural resources. PTD suggests that natural resources are universally important and collectively owned; the public therefore has a right to access these resources for purposes including subsistence, economy, and recreation. It also acts as the cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife conservation (Geist 1995), a model that underpins most modern and historic wildlife legislation in the United States and Canada.


The Relationship of Economic Growth to Wildlife Conservation

March, 2003

In 2001, The Wildlife Society appointed a technical review committee to investigate the relationship between economic growth and wildlife conservation. This report examines the fundamental conflict between economic growth and wildlife conservation and includes the sound theoretical and empirical evidence supporting that conflict.


Wildlife Health

Sources and Implications of Lead Ammunition and Fishing Tackle on Natural Resources

June, 2008

Although naturally occurring, lead is harmful to plants and animals. Its use in ammunition for hunting, shooting sports, and fishing tackle remains widespread, despite well-documented adverse effects on wildlife. This report reviews all relevant scientific studies on lead sources that originate from hunting, shooting sports, and fishing activities and their impact on fish and wildlife.


Wildlife Fertility Control

July, 2002

A number of wildlife species have become overabundant either locally or regionally in North America, causing a myriad of conflicts with humans. Traditional population management techniques for overabundant wildlife such as hunting and trapping increasingly are restricted or infeasible in parks and suburban areas. This report explores a number of complex technical, biological, economic, and legal issues that will need to be addressed before infertility agents can be used in situations where traditional management techniques are not feasible.


Acidic Depositions: Effect on Wildlife and Habitats

November, 1993

Fish and wildlife have long served as the biological "red flag" manifesting adverse effects of wetland acidification from anthropogenic acidic depositions. This report reviews the effects of acidic depositions on wildlife according to the 2 primary objectives of The Wildlife Society: (1) to develop and promote sound stewardship of wildlife resources and the environments upon which wildlife and humans depend and (2) to undertake an active role in preventing human-induced environmental degradation.