(Please note: Professor Decker is not taking new graduate students.) 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 practical 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.
Outreach and Extension Focus
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.
Translating research findings for natural resource professionals via publications, presentations, and workshops. Advisement to facilitate incorporating research insights into policy making and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Primary beneficiaries are wildlife professionals in NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and natural resource managers in the National Park Service.
Hosts a weekly, informal graduate research seminar on “Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management.” (Co-led with Professors Shorna Allred, Richard Stedman, and Barbara Knuth.)
Awards and Honors
- George Bird Grinnell Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resource Conservation (2019) Wildlife Management INstitute
- 2013 Outstanding Service to the CALS Community Award (2013) Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Aldo Leopold Award and Medal (2012) The Wildlife Society
- Alumni Hall of Fame (2012) Port Jervis High School
- 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., & Wilde, 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., & Evenson, 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. The 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.