Schoon Et al.: Modeling Decision-making across Habitat Patches: Insights on Large-Scale Conservation Management

Michael Schoon, Jacopo Baggio, Kehinde Salau, and Marco Janssen

In recent years there has been a shift in biodiversity conservation efforts from the confines of enclosed protected areas to a more expansive view of interlinked habitat patches across multiple land tenure types and land uses. However, much work remains on how conservation managers can intervene in such a system to achieve the sustainability of basic conservation goals. Building off of an existing agent-based model (ABM) of a two-patch metapopulation with local predator-prey dynamics and variable, density-dependent species migration, this model examines the capacity of a manager to interact with and modify the ecosystem to achieve biodiversity conservation goals. In this paper, we explore managers’ strategies aimed at maintaining one of two goals – local coexistence of both predators and prey (sustained coexistence on one patch) or global coexistence of predators and prey (sustained coexistence on both patches). To achieve management’s goal, the manager varies the level of connectivity between two habitat patches (i.e. a manager is thus able to facilitate or restrict movement of species between habitat patches) based on one of three monitoring strategies – the monitoring of predator population levels, the monitoring of prey population levels, or the monitoring of the vegetation carrying capacity of the habitat patches. Our goal is to help facilitate management decisions and monitoring choices in conservation projects that move beyond the confines of a protected area and into mosaics of multiple land tenure types typical of many of today’s large-scale conservation projects

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