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Optimal Control Strategies for Invasive Exotics in South Florida

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Project Investigator: Fred A. Johnson

Project Personnel: Mathieu Bonneau

Project Start Date: 2011 End Date: 2014

Recent Funding: (FY14) USGS GE PES, (FY13) USGS GE PES, (FY12) USGS GE PES


Summary

Agencies with responsibility for protecting native ecosystems in South Florida have limited resources with which to control the spread of invasive exotics. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop cost-effective monitoring programs, new control methods, and decision-support tools.

The establishment and proliferation of exotic plants and animals can interfere with native ecological processes and can cause severe stress to sensitive ecosystems. Perhaps nowhere in the contiguous U.S. is this more evident than in South Florida, where millions of dollars are spent annually to monitor and control the spread of exotics such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), the Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona), and Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus), just to name a few. With the number of established exotic species now numbering well into the hundreds in South Florida, the potential impact of invasives has emerged as a high-priority issue in planning the restoration and conservation of the Greater Everglades (South Florida Environmental Report, 2011, South Florida Water Management District). However, agencies with responsibility for protecting native ecosystems in South Florida have limited resources with which to control the spread of invasive exotics. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop cost-effective monitoring programs, new control methods, and decision-support tools.

This study has the following objectives:

  • Develop a decision-making framework that has generic application for controlling invasives;
  • Parameterize that framework for illustrative purposes using relevant information on one (or several related) invasive species in South Florida; and
  • Derive an optimal control strategy for that (those) species and, if possible, evaluate its expected performance relative to control strategies being used or contemplated.

Work Plans

 

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Script last updated: 23 October 2018 @ 12:03 PM by THF. Record creator: KP. Record last updated by: KP.