Setting population-size targets for geese causing socio-economic conflicts

Fred A. Johnson*, Henning Heldbjerg, Szabolcs Nagy, Jesper Madsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Most European goose populations have increased exponentially, and this has increasingly brought them into conflict with human activities. To manage this conflict, we used multi-criteria decision analysis to help set population targets for a super-abundant population of greylag geese (Anser anser). We relied on expert elicitation to assess the consequences of varying goose abundance on nine ecological, economic, and societal objectives. Representatives from national governments and from non-governmental organizations then weighted the objectives based on their perceived relative importance, and we used a consensus-convergence model to reach stakeholder agreement on the tradeoffs among objectives. The preferred population targets for two management units represent about a 20% reduction from current abundances, which from a management perspective would require considerable effort above and beyond current population-control measures. We believe that multi-criteria decision analysis can provide a systematic and transparent framework for building consensus among diverse stakeholders in a wide array of human-wildlife conflicts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)209-225
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Conflict
    • Consensus-convergence model
    • Geese
    • Multi-criteria decision analysis
    • Objectives
    • Stakeholders


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