When can efforts to control nuisance and invasive species backfire?
ABSTRACT Population control through harvest has the potential to reduce the abundance of nuisance and invasive species. However, demographic structure and density-dependent processes can confound removal efforts and lead to undesirable consequences, such as overcompensation (an increase in abundance in response to harvest) and instability (population cycling or chaos). Recent empirical studies have demonstrated the potential for increased mortality (such as that caused by harvest) to lead to overcompensation and instability in plant, insect, and fish populations. We developed a general population model with juvenile and adult stages to help determine the conditions under which control harvest efforts can produce unintended outcomes. Analytical and simulation analyses of the model demonstrated that the potential for overcompensation as a result of harvest was significant for species with high fecundity, even when annual stage-specific survivorship values were fairly low. Population instability as a result of harvest occurred less frequently and was only possible with harvest strategies that targeted adults when both fecundity and adult survivorship were high. We considered these results in conjunction with current literature on nuisance and invasive species to propose general guidelines for assessing the risks associated with control harvest based on life history characteristics of target populations. Our results suggest that species with high per capita fecundity (over discrete breeding periods), short juvenile stages, and fairly constant survivorship rates are most likely to respond undesirably to harvest. It is difficult to determine the extent to which overcompensation and instability could occur during real-world removal efforts, and more empirical removal studies should be undertaken to evaluate population-level responses to control harvests. Nevertheless, our results identify key issues that have been seldom acknowledged and are potentially generic across taxa.
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ABSTRACT: Ecologists are increasingly actively involved in conservation. We identify five key topics from a broad sweep of ecology that merit research attention to meet conservation needs. We examine questions from landscape ecology, behavioral ecology, ecosystem dynamics, community ecology, and nutrient cycling related to key topics. Based on literature review and publication trend assessment, consultation with colleagues, and roundtable discussions at the 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology, focused research on the following topics could benefit conservation while advancing ecological understanding: 1. Carbon sequestration, requiring increased linkages to biodiversity conservation; 2. Ecological invasiveness, challenging our ability to find solutions to ecological aliens; 3. Individual variation, having applications in the conservation of rare species; 4. Movement of organisms, integrating ecological processes across landscapes and scales and addressing habitat fragmentation; and 5. Trophic-level interactions, driving ecological dynamics at the ecosystem-level. Addressing these will require cross-disciplinary research under the overarching framework of conservation ecology.AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment 04/2013; · 2.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The timing of harvesting is a key instrument in managing and exploiting biological populations and renewable resources. Yet, there is a little theory on harvest timing, and even less is known about the impact of different harvest times on the stability of population dynamics, even though this may drive population variability and risk of extinction. Here, we employ the framework proposed by Seno to study how harvesting at specific moments in the reproductive season affects not only population size but also stability. For populations with overcompensation, intermediate harvest times tend to be stabilizing (by simplifying dynamics in the case of unimodal maps and by preventing bubbling in the case of bimodal maps). For populations with a strong Allee effect, however, intermediate harvest times can have a twofold effect. On the one hand, they facilitate population persistence (if harvesting effort is low). On the other hand, they provoke population extinction (if harvesting is high). Early harvesting, currently considered common sense to take advantage of compensatory effects, may cut into the breeding stock when the population has not yet surpassed the critical Allee threshold. The results in this paper highlight, for the first time, the crucial interplay between harvest timing and Allee effects. Moreover, they demonstrate that harvesting with the same effort but at different moments in time can dramatically alter the impact on the population.Mathematical biosciences 12/2013; · 1.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Investigating a method of chaos control for one-dimensional maps, where the intervention is proportional to the difference between a fixed value and a current state, we demonstrate that stabilization is possible in one of the two following cases: (1) for small values, the map is increasing and the slope of the line connecting the points on the line with the origin is decreasing; (2) the chaotic map is locally Lipschitz. Moreover, in the latter case we prove that any point of the map can be stabilized. In addition, we study pulse stabilization when the intervention occurs each m-th step and illustrate that stabilization is possible for the first type of maps. In the context of population dynamics, we notice that control with a positive target, even if stabilization is not achieved, leads to persistent solutions and prevents extinction in models which experience the Allee effect.Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.) 03/2014; 24(1):013119. · 1.80 Impact Factor