Models are basic to good decision making. System models are representations of the dynamics of an ecological system, a conceptual map of how the system works. They enable us to specify our thinking on how the system responds to management. Without them in our decision frame it’s unlikely our choices will be well founded. What’s more, and just as important, without a system model the potential to learn is limited.
Building models for better decisions
Australia has around 230 species of frog but no native salamanders (newts), though salamanders have been available as pets for many years. Well, now it seems pet salamanders have broken out with the discovery of many specimens of the European or smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) living wild in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. And that could have dire consequences for Australia’s aquatic biodiversity.
The management of introduced species that are both invasive and commercially valuable is contentious. While such species provide substantial economic benefits to some, they pose considerable costs to others due to negative impacts on ecosystems.
The program to eradicate invasive hawkweed species from Victoria’s Alpine National Park has been a long and concerted effort with broad community support. Overseen by a Project Control Group, the program relies on the efforts of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria, Falls Creek Resort Management, Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management, Weed Spotters, weed control contractors, volunteers, and researchers to help find and control hawkweeds.
Finding a middle ground in a hot debate There has been a lot of debate recently in the field of invasion biology, often quite polarized, surrounding the focus on non-native species in conservation and management. To an outsider, and this would include most of the general public, the heat in this debate might come as […]