Review examines economic growth and wildlife

April 29, 2003

David Trauger, a fisheries and wildlife professor and head of the College of Natural Resources program at Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Center, led a technical review of the relationship between economic growth and wildlife conservation. Sponsored by the Wildlife Society, the review examined the compatibility of economic growth and wildlife.

"The economy throughout our nation's history has grown steadily, fueled by technological progress of human desires," explains Trauger. "This growth has been accompanied by a general decline in habitats and populations of wild creatures, so this review poses the question: is there an alternative to this fundamental and inevitable conflict?"

The 22-page technical review, published in March 2003, was written by Trauger, Brian Czech, conservation biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System; J.D. Erickson, associate professor of ecological economics, University of Vermont; P.R. Garrettson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management; B.J. Kernohan of the Boise Cascade Corporation; and Craig A. Miller of the Center For Wildlife Ecology, Illinois. The review explores the relationship between economic growth to consumer trends, social values, human population, ecological principles, technological progress, and wildlife conservation. This politically sensitive issue is one the organization has looked at for many years, with findings culminating in the recent Wildlife Society Symposium and a series of articles in the journal Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Trauger said that the economic review "is a very important step for the Wildlife Society because of the high degree of correlation between economic growth and increasing numbers of threatened and endangered species."

The review will act as a form of outreach communication to other organizations and professionals in the wildlife field for increasing awareness about the fundamental conflict and for identifying potential solutions.
The Wildlife Society is an association of professionals dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. The report can be ordered for $7 at

Written by Tara Laffey, Intern in the Office of University Relations

Virginia Tech

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