The metapopulation perspective in management

A repeated theme in previous chapters has been the spatial patchiness upon which population interactions are often played out. Managers need to understand the implications of such heterogeneous landscape structure when making their decisions. Various approaches are available to improve our understanding of populations in complex landscapes and we consider two in the following sections. First, landscapes with different degrees of habitat loss and fragmentation can be artificially created at a scale appropriate to populations of interest and their behavior can then be assessed in carefully controlled experiments (see Section 15.4.1 - in the context of biological control of pests). Second, simple deterministic models can throw light on the factors that need to be taken into account when managing populations in a habitat patchwork (see Section 15.4.2 - in the context of creating protected areas for fisheries management). We also saw earlier (see Section 7.5.6 - in the context of a reserve patchwork for an endangered species) how stochastic simulation models can be used to compare management scenarios where subpopulations exist in a metapopulation.

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