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Using the Spatial Population Abundance Dynamics Engine for conservation management


Beeton, NJ and McMahon, CR and Williamson, GJ and Potts, J and Bloomer, J and Bester, MN and Forbes, LK and Johnson, CN, Using the Spatial Population Abundance Dynamics Engine for conservation management, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6, (12) pp. 1407-1416. ISSN 2041-210X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2015 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2015 British Ecological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12434


1. An explicit spatial understanding of population dynamics is often critical for effective management of wild populations. Sophisticated approaches are available to simulate these dynamics, but are largely either spatially homogeneous or agent based, and thus best suited to small spatial or temporal scales. These approaches also often ignore financial decisions crucial to choosing management approaches on the basis of cost-effectiveness.
2. We created a user-friendly and flexible modelling framework for simulating these population issues at large spatial scales – the Spatial Population Abundance Dynamics Engine (SPADE). SPADE is based on the Spatio-Temporal Animal Reduction (STAR) model (McMahon et al. 2010) and uses a reaction–diffusion approach to model population trajectories and a cost-benefit analysis technique to calculate optimal management strategies over long periods and across broad spatial scales. It expands on STAR by incorporating species interactions and multiple concurrent management strategies, and by allowing full user control of functional forms and parameters.
3. We used SPADE to simulate the eradication of feral domestic cats Felis catus on sub-Antarctic Marion Island (Bester et al., South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 32, 2002, 65) and compared modelled outputs to observed data. The parameters of the best-fitting model reflected the conditions of the management programme, and the model successfully simulated the observed movement of the cat population to the southern and eastern portion of the island under hunting pressure. We further demonstrated that none of the management strategies would likely have been successful within a reasonable time frame if performed in isolation.
4. Spatial Population Abundance Dynamics Engine is applicable to a wide range of population management problems and allows easy generation, modification and analysis of management scenarios. It is a useful tool for the planning, evaluation and optimisation of the management of wild populations and can be used without specialised training.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:demography, eradication, Felis catus, invasive species, scenario building, spatial ecology, wildlife disease
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Beeton, NJ (Dr Nicholas Beeton)
UTAS Author:McMahon, CR (Dr Clive McMahon)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Forbes, LK (Professor Larry Forbes)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:103028
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2015-09-16
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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