This spring, the SE CASC is hosting a virtual science seminar series highlighting SE CASC funded projects that support resource management actions across the Southeast. Each month a SE CASC researcher will provide an overview of their work and the management implications of their research findings. Learn more about the SE CASC Spring Science Seminar Series here.
Title: Structured Decision Making: A Strategy for Collaboration and Conservation of Imperiled Herpetofauna
Speaker: Dr. Brian Crawford, Georgia Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Date: February 16, 2020
Time: 11AM ET
Structured decision making (SDM) is a process that helps decision makers and stakeholders solve complex conservation problems by breaking them into a sequence of more tractable components based in values and science. We highlight the benefits of SDM using a case study on range-wide strategic conservation planning for the gopher frog. We used SDM with State, federal, and other partners to identify optimal management strategies for the gopher frog across 183 sites that maximize the number and distribution of breeding populations in 2050 while minimizing cost. We combined species data and expert judgment to model population persistence under three scenarios: 1) “status quo” management (least costly actions), 2) “do-all-we-can” management (most costly), and 3) “cost-effective” management where we identified optimal strategies that balance population outcomes and cost. Models predicted a reduction in persisting populations, relative to current conditions, across all three scenarios. Cost-effective strategies slowed population declines expected under status quo options and included a combination of managing uplands and wetlands at currently occupied sites as well as establishing new populations via head-starting and translocations. Our results can aid partners in implementing optimal conservation strategies at site-, state-, and range-wide scales when resources are limited and inform forthcoming listing decisions of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Learn more about the SE CASC project associated with this work.
Learn more about the speaker:
Brian A. Crawford, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral conservation ecologist working in the Georgia Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Georgia. His research integrates natural and social sciences to better understand and resolve human-caused impacts on wildlife. Much of his work focuses on developing decision support tools with partners (biologists, managers, decision-makers) for identifying optimal management strategies for recovering at-risk species of herpetofauna. More information on Brian is available here.