NCEAS Project 2166

Managing natural areas: How do we select among land management options?

  • Cheryl B. Schultz

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow1st March 1999—30th June 2002Participant List  

Abstract
Land management will be a pivotal conservation issue in the coming decades as we begin to face the mounting problems of how to manage land that has recently been set aside in parks and reserves. Whereas much ecological theory has been applied to reserve design and reserve siting (island biogeography, e.g. Williams 1984; viability models, e.g. Armbruster and Lande 1993; metapopulation models, e.g. McCollough 1996), virtually no theory has been applied to ¿reserve management.¿

I propose to seek generalizations from two standpoints: by looking for general lessons that emerge from a synthetic analysis of current land management activities and by searching for ways simple decision theory can help reserve managers choose among potential management strategies. The first focus will include an assessment and synthesis of current land management techniques (e.g. burning, flooding, weeding, and restoring), and a meta-analysis of the success of well-documented management actions. For the second approach, I will examine general theories and ask whether they are pertinent, or whether specific models can ever be pertinent. It is important to emphasize that issues in reserve management may be so particular to local natural history that they offer little guidance. I do not intend to go into this project with the objective of finding a ¿universal theory¿ but rather with the objective of looking for avenues where theory will provide helpful perspectives. The practical outcome of this part of the investigation will be using a decision theory framework to build a simple interactive simulation model to look at the relative benefits of one management strategy over another.

Finally, I will propose two workshops -- one to bring together land managers with a few academics to discuss first-hand experience with what techniques succeed and to identify decision-making tools that would be useful from a land-manager's perspective and another workshop with about half land managers and half academics to brainstorm ways that theory might be developed to help in addressing on-the-ground management problems.

NCEAS is a logical place to carry out this research because there will be a large number of researchers with whom I can interact - sabbatical fellows, workshops and postdocs. In addition, the computer facilities and the NCEAS staff are well-situated to make the research possible, especially in building a database to answer synthetic questions and in the design of useful decision-making models for land-managers.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Schultz, Cheryl B.; Crone, Elizabeth E. 2001. Edge-mediated dispersal behavior in a prairie butterfly. Ecology. Vol: 82. Pages 1879-1892.
Journal Article Schultz, Cheryl B. 2001. Restoring resources for an endangered butterfly. Journal of Applied Ecology. Vol: 38. Pages 1007-1019.
Journal Article Schultz, Cheryl B.; Hammond, P. C.; Wilson, M. V. 2003. Biology of Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi Macy), an endangered species of western Oregon native prairies. Natural Areas Journal. Vol: 23. Pages 61-71.
Presentations Schultz, Cheryl B. 2003. Developing quantitative recovery criteria for endangered insects: Case study of the Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi). Society for Conservation Biology.
Journal Article Schultz, Cheryl B.; Hammond, P. C. 2003. Using population viability analysis to develop recovery criteria for endangered insects: Case study of the Fender's blue butterfly. Conservation Biology. Vol: 17(5). Pages 1372-1385.