MONDAY, June 19, 2006
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
CAB 657

Louis Gross

Space and control: linking theory and practice for natural
resource management


Environmental problems related to natural resource management span a wide variety of spatial, temporal and biotic hierarchy levels. Resource managers are charged with local, short-term decisions regarding controlling access and types of use for sub-areas within larger natural areas, as well as much longer-term planning for entire areas as large as many thousands of hectares. Similarly, regional-scale planning for water flows, hunting regulations, preserve allocation, wildlife disease containment and forest harvesting requires stakeholders to provide input to the process, and such planning has led to numerous contentious public debates. Moving from ecological theory to practice requires the use of models utilizing the best available science to analyze potential effects. To be effective, such models must be defensible scientifically, readily available to various stakeholders and extensible to allow new users to evaluate alternative plans, assumptions and choices of criteria to prioritize management actions.

Much of natural resource management can be viewed as problems in spatial control: what to do, where to do it, when to do it, and how to monitor and assess the success of the effort. The ready availability of computatational capability opens up a variety of new opportunities for spatially-explicit control methods to be made accessible for resource managers concerned with site-specific issues as well as with regional-level coordination of effort. A variety of new mathematical approaches are needed to incorporate control in these practical situations. I will describe efforts to develop spatial control as a general approach applicable to problems of invasive species and disease management, hydrology planning, and endangered species
conservation planning.

Refreshments will be served following the seminar from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in CAB 549