The Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCPO) is an important example of regional collaborations across agency and ownership boundaries to conserve sustainable landscapes in the face of global change. But, their planning is hampered by uncertainty in how species will respond to conservation actions amidst impacts from landscape and climate change, especially when those impacts are also uncertain. Their efforts are also complicated by the complexities of the planning decisions, including strategic considerations such as the amount, configuration, and condition of habitat needed. How can a management action that is the best for all species be identified when different species will likely have conflicting responses to each action? To address these difficulties, the University of Missouri, U.S. Forest Service, the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture and the Northeast Climate Science Center have teamed up with the GCPO to pilot a process that combines climate, landscape, and population modeling with Structured Decision Making to overcome uncertainty and reduce the complexity of management decisions. This webinar will present this process for the Ozark Highlands region of the GCPO. It will describe how a team of SWAP managers for the three states, regional science coordinators, ecologists, refuge biologists and private lands coordinators developed alternative conservation scenarios and used SDM to interpret uncertainty in terms of risk and resolve tradeoffs among conservation scenarios across species. Together their efforts enabled the team to make a decision and demonstrated that this approach can help the GCPO and regional planning in general.
Thomas Bonnot was born, raised and educated in Missouri. He is currently finishing up his Ph.D. while serving as a Research Associate at the University of Missouri and a Fellow with the Northeast Climate Science Center. For the last 12 years his research has focused on integrating field and analytical methods with landscape, habitat, and population modeling to assist wildlife harvest management and conservation planning at local, landscape, and regional scales.
Read more about Tom's recent work: Notes from the Field: Putting Structured Decision-Making to Work and Uncertainty is Information, Too.