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Decision support for the ecosystem based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot presents effective strategies and challenges


Robinson, LM and Marzloff, MP and van Putten, I and Pecl, G and Jennings, S and Nicol, S and Hobday, AJ and Tracey, S and Hartmann, K and Haward, M and Frusher, S, Decision support for the ecosystem based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot presents effective strategies and challenges, Ecosystems pp. 1-20. ISSN 1432-9840 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10021-020-00560-1


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, the destructive grazing of 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 some stakeholders that pose complex challenges for regional management. Stakeholders 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 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 preferences in high ranking strategies. Additionally, inconsistencies in strategy preferences using alternative (direct or indirect) ranking scores reveal conflicting objectives as the most plausible explanation. Our study illustrates how structured decision making can effectively facilitate ecosystem-based management by engaging stakeholders step-by-step towards management strategy implementation and promoting collective learning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:structured decision making, decision analysis, multi-method elicitation, stakeholder engagement, ecosystem-based management, species range extension, keystone herbivore, global marine hotspot
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in marine environments
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:141497
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-10-26
Last Modified:2021-03-16

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