Using insects, disturbance & cash to manage invasive plant populations & spread
Speaker: Dr. Yvonne Buckley (The Ecology Centre University of Queensland & CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems)
Invasive species are environmentally and economically damaging and management of many species is currently inadequate. Biocontrol is one strategy whereby invasive plant populations can be managed. Using models we can explore complex interactions within and between plant and herbivore populations and incorporate environmental effects inherent in ecological systems, leading to management solutions that were perhaps not intuitively obvious at the beginning of the process. Disturbance is implicated as an important driver of plant invasions and I explore this concept using a very simple model, making the prediction that some times, even for disturbance adapted invaders, it doesn’t matter. In other scenarios we can manage disturbance rather than weed removal itself to get control. Underlying all management decisions is the availability of cold, hard cash, I describe an innovative decision making framework which predicts optimal control strategies from the impact-density curve of the invaders and a number of ecological and economic parameters.