Professor Emeritus, Natural Resources and the Environment
Dr. Dan Decker is a professor emeritus and director emeritus of the Human Dimensions Research Unit (now Center for Conservation Social Sciences), where since the mid 1970s he has been engaged in research and outreach focusing on discovery of human dimensions insights and their integration into wildlife policy, management, program planning and evaluation. The goal of this work is to contribute to developing the capacity of management professionals in public wildlife agencies. Over the last 20 years he has focused on transformation of the wildlife management institution in the US, including enhancing relevance of the institution to a broader swath of Americans.
Dr. Decker’s studies of the human dimensions of wildlife management have been widely published in journals and books. He has served as consultant, advisor or contractor to several federal and state natural resource agencies, including the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Dr. Decker has held numerous administrative positions at Cornell, including department chair, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, director of Land Grant Affairs, and senior advisor to the dean. Professional leadership roles include VP, President-elect, President and Past President of The Wildlife Society (TWS) in 2001-05, and prior to that Northeast Representative to TWS Council and President of the Northeast Section of TWS. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and TWS Fellow.
B.S. (Cornell, 1974); M.S., (Cornell, 1976); Ph.D. (Cornell, 1986)
Dr. Decker’s research and outreach focuses on discovery of human dimensions insights and their integration into wildlife policy, management, program planning and evaluation. The goal of this work is to contribute to developing the capacity of management professionals in public wildlife agencies. Over the last 20 years he has focused on transformation of the wildlife management institution in the US, including enhancing relevance of the institution to more diverse Americans.
Professor Decker works with scholars and practitioners to develop a vision of "next-generation wildlife management." A key feature of this pursuit is the articulation of a model of wildlife management that integrates human and biological dimensions in wildlife management and policy making, and presents a generalizable theory regarding how human attitudinal and behavioral considerations can be addressed effectively in these endeavors. This necessitates the study of problems and opportunities for integration of human dimensions into wildlife management, and involves evolution of the philosophy of wildlife management within the wildlife management profession, as well as the development of stakeholder and community capacity building processes to achieve effective community-based management. This is accomplished through research to study processes and approaches used in wildlife management, design of pilot efforts in cooperation with state and federal wildlife agencies willing to apply new approaches for decision-making, and evaluation of such efforts for their improvement.
Current research examines: (1) stakeholder engagement in wildlife management, (2) adaptive wildlife impact management, (3) human-wildlife conflict management, (4) public attitudes toward wildlife and its accessibility, (5) wildlife acceptance capacity of stakeholders, including risk perception; (6) agency transformation and public trust doctrine. Extension and outreach efforts address: (1) professional development of wildlife managers, (2) the integration of biological and human dimensions of wildlife management, (3) wildlife program evaluation. Much of his current effort is directed to translating research findings for natural resource professionals via publications and workshops, as well as advising them on incorporating research insights into policy making and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Primary beneficiaries are wildlife professionals in state wildlife agencies.
- Fuller, A.K., Decker, D.J., Schiavone, M.V. & Forstchen, A.B. (2020). Ratcheting up rigor in wildlife management decision making. Wildlife Society Bulletin 44 (1), 29-41
- Decker, D.J., Forstchen, A.B., Siemer, W.F., Smith, C.A., Frohlich, R.K., Schiavone , M.V., Lederle, P.E. & Pomeranz, E.F. (2019). Moving the paradigm from stakeholders to beneficiaries in wildlife management. Journal of Wildlife Management 83 (3), 513-518
- Hare, D., Decker, D.J., Smith, C.A., Forstchen, F.A. & Jacobson, C.A. (2017) Applying Public Trust Thinking to Wildlife Governance in the United States: Challenges and Potential Solutions, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 22:6, 506-523
- Decker, D. J., Smith, C., Forstchen, A., Hare, D., Pomeranz, E., Doyle-Capitman, C., Schuler, K., & Organ, J. (2016). Governance Principles for Wildlife Conservation in the 21st Century. Conservation Letters. 9:290-295.
- Buttke, D. E., Decker, D. J., & Wild, M. A. (2015). The Role of One Health in Wildlife Conservation: A Challenge and Opportunity. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 51:1-8.
- Decker, D. J., Forstchen, A. B., Organ, J. F., Smith, C. A., Riley, S. J., Jacobson, C. A., Batcheller, G. R., & Siemer, W. F. (2014). Impacts management: An approach to fulfilling public trust responsibilities of wildlife agencies. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 38:4702-4708.
- Decker, D. J., Siemer, W. F., Evensen, D. T., Stedman, R. C., McComas, K. A., Wild, M. A., Castle, K. T., & Leong., K. M. (2012). Public Perceptions of Wildlife-associated Disease: Risk Communication Matters. Human-Wildlife Interaction. 6:112-122.
- Decker, D. J., Siemer, W. F., Wild, M. A., Castle, K. T., Wong, D., Leong, K. M., & Evensen, D. T. (2011). Communicating about zoonotic disease: strategic considerations for wildlife professionals. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 35:112-119.
- Jacobson, C. A., Organ, J. F., Decker, D. J., Batcheller, G. R., & Carpenter, L. (2010). A conservation institution for the 21st century: Implications for state wildlife agencies. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 74:203-209.
- Jacobson, C. A., & Decker, D. J. (2008). Governance of state wildlife management: Reform and revive or resist and retrench? Society & Natural Resources. 21:441-448.
- Leong, K. M., Decker, D. J., Forester, J. F., Curtis, P. D., & Wild, M. A. (2007). Expanding problem frames to understand human-wildlife conflicts in urban-proximate parks. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. 25:62-78.
- Jacobson, C. A., & Decker, D. J. (2006). Ensuring the future of state wildlife management: understanding challenges for institutional change. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 34:531-536.
- Decker, D. J., Jacobson, C. A., & Brown, T. L. (2006). Situation-specific "impact dependency" as a determinant of management acceptability: insight from wolf and grizzly bear management in Alaska. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 34:426-432.
Awards & Honors
The Wildlife Society’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Medal (2012); Wildlife Management Institute’s George Byrd Grinnell Memorial Award for Distinguished Conservation Service (2019); Wildlife Publication Award of The Wildlife Society (article) (1992); Daniel L. Leedy Urban Wildlife Conservation Award, National Urban Wildlife Institute (1993); Distinguished Research and Extension Award, Gamma Sigma Delta (1994); SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2005); Wildlife Society Outstanding Edited Book Award for “Wildlife and Society: The Science of Human Dimensions” (2009); Outstanding Service to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Community Award (2013)
B-08 Bruckner Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
djd6 [at] cornell.edu