Dan Pletscher - Restoration Interests and Projects
The work I do that could fall into the category of ecological restoration deals with endangered species and occurs through the Wildlife Biology Program. Our work in the 1980s and 1990s on wolves and their prey (primarily deer, elk, and moose) was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in their Environmental Impact Statement dealing with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone
National Park and central Idaho. My graduate students and I have also worked or are working on characteristics of sites where wolves have killed livestock (with an eye toward reducing conflicts), the recolonization of wolves in the Alps of Italy, impacts of wolves on other predators, and impacts of wolves on their prey in Alberta.
My students and I have worked on other endangered, threatened, or rare species, including argali in Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China, wild yak in China, markhor in Pakistan, wolverine in Montana, coyotes/lynx in Montana, and desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico. Some of these projects revolve around basic biology, but most address pressing conservation issues where humans are a part of the problem (and hence also must be a part of the solution). Successful ecological restoration will require sound ecological knowledge as well as an ability to understand and work with people. I cannot imagine a better laboratory to study ecological restoration than The University of Montana.