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Structured decision-making identifies effective strategies and potential barriers for ecosystem-based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot


Robinson, LM and Marzloff, MP and van Putten, I and Pecl, G and Jennings, S and Hobday, AJ and Tracey, S and Hartmann, K and Haward, M and Frusher, S, Structured decision-making identifies effective strategies and potential barriers for ecosystem-based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot, Ecosystems, 22, (7) pp. 1573-1591. ISSN 1432-9840 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10021-019-00358-w


Climate-driven changes in ocean currents have facilitated the range extension of the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) from Australia’s mainland to eastern Tasmania over recent decades. Since its arrival, destructive grazing by the urchin has led to widespread formation of sea urchin ‘barrens’. The loss of habitat, biodiversity and productivity for important commercial reef species in conjunction with the development of an urchin fishery has led to conflicting objectives among stakeholders, which poses complex challenges for regional management. Stakeholder representatives and managers were engaged via a participatory workshop and subsequent one-on-one surveys to trial a structured decision-making process to identify effective ecosystem-based management strategies. We directly and indirectly elicited each stakeholder’s preferences for nine alternative management strategies by presenting them with the 10-year consequences of each strategy estimated from an ecosystem model of Tasmanian reef communities. These preferences were included in cost-effectiveness scores that were averaged (across stakeholders) to enable strategy ranking from most to least cost-effective. Rankings revealed strategies that included sea urchin removal or translocation of predatory lobsters were the most cost-effective. However, assessment of stakeholders’ individual cost-effectiveness scores showed some disparity among stakeholders’ preferences in high ranking strategies. Additionally, evaluating inconsistencies within some stakeholders’ scores that included direct or indirect preferences revealed conflicting objectives and cognitive bias as the most plausible explanations for these inconsistencies. Our study illustrates how structured decision-making can effectively facilitate ecosystem-based management by engaging stakeholders step-by-step towards management strategy implementation, identifying psychological barriers to decision-making and promoting collective learning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:structured decision making, species range extension, multi-method elicitation, stakeholder engagement, ecosystem-based management, species range extension, keystone herbivore, global marine hotspot
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological Applications
Research Field:Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Climate and Climate Change
Objective Field:Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
UTAS Author:Robinson, LM (Dr Lucy Robinson)
UTAS Author:Marzloff, MP (Dr Martin Marzloff)
UTAS Author:van Putten, I (Dr Ingrid Van Putten)
UTAS Author:Pecl, G (Professor Gretta Pecl)
UTAS Author:Jennings, S (Dr Sarah Jennings)
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
UTAS Author:Tracey, S (Associate Professor Sean Tracey)
UTAS Author:Hartmann, K (Dr Klaas Hartmann)
UTAS Author:Haward, M (Professor Marcus Haward)
UTAS Author:Frusher, S (Professor Stewart Frusher)
ID Code:131700
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2019-04-01
Last Modified:2019-11-08

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