Forthcoming article in Environmental Modelling

As we put a bow on 2013, I wrapped up my fall semester with the acceptance of an article to the journal Environmental Modelling and Software.  With colleagues Jacopo Baggio, Kenny Salau, and Marco Janssen, we ran some agent-based modeling simulations for an article entitled “Modeling Decision-making across Habitat Patches:  Insights on Large-Scale Conservation Management”.  The gist of the article was to understand how environmental managers could intervene in a mosaic of connected landscapes for conservation.  We looked at predator-prey dynamics with carrying capacity.  Our goal was to compare management success at helping to sustain both species based on taking a local or global perspective and based on monitoring vegetation levels, prey populations, or predator populations.

Based on the model’s simulation results, we find that a global perspective (looking across the network) results in better outcomes than looking at an individual habitat patch (which is what many land managers end up doing in the real-world).  This, of course, is not surprising.  We also found that if managers were constrained to only monitor one population, they did best by looking at prey population levels.  This seems to be because its intermediary position provided insight into levels higher and lower on the food chain.  However, this goes against some theoretical perspectives that articulate monitoring at the lowest level (vegetation).

Our next step is to try to find real-world data to ground our models in empirical results.  We also hope to overlay a network of managers to see how their interactions affect outcomes and whether they are contingent on source-sink dynamics or other network possibilities.  Stay tuned.



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