Human Dimensions of Wildlife Unit

With 39.5 million people living in California, perhaps the most important species that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife manages is our own.

Logo reading: 'Human Dimensions of California Wildlife Conservation' with an outline of a bear between the words 'human' and 'dimensions'

What is Human Dimensions Research?

Human behavior can be the root of many fish and wildlife problems, but people are also key to fish and wildlife conservation. Through robust, innovative, and interdisciplinary social science, Human Dimensions research investigates the role that people play in fish, wildlife, and conservation issues. Human Dimensions researchers complement the work of other scientists, wildlife managers, and conservationists by:

  • Learning what the public thinks about fish and wildlife. Specifically, what conservation and management issues are most concerning.
  • Building collaborations and communication efforts around fish, wildlife, and conservation issues between different communities.
  • Providing the social science expertise to fish, wildlife, and conservation agencies so they can make scientifically sound decisions about conservation management and policy.

Human Dimension Research in California

According to the link opens in new tab or windowCalifornia Biodiversity Initiative (PDF), California is home to 6,700 plant and animal species, California is the most biodiverse state in the country. With nearly 40 million people, it is also the most populated state.

Balancing human needs with conservation needs presents many challenges. This is especially the case in California where there are many changes occurring in the population and environment (population growth, wildfires, drought, etc.).

Understanding how Californians think and make decisions about fish, wildlife, and conservation will help the California Department of Fish and Wildlife respond to these challenges. Additionally, the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation Unit will provide a forum for clear, engaging, and transparent discussions between the public and Department.

Ongoing Research

  • Best practices to reduce human-wildlife conflicts (see: Wildlife Watch and Keep Me Wild)
  • Factors that contribute to people's participation in conservation-oriented outdoor recreation (Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation - CA R3 Program)
  • Internal Scoping of CDFW Human Dimension Research needs
  • Public perceptions of environmental change
  • Stakeholder surveys on predator management