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Spatial Control of Natural and Managed Systems: Theory and Applications
Organizer: Louis J. Gross

One of the main issues at the interface between theoretical and applied ecology is how to combine spatially-explicit ecological models with economic and social impact models. Associated with this is the need to address problems of spatially-explicit control. Management that occurs at landscape extent (e.g., forest harvesting, water flow management, and conservation preserve design) is not an all-or-nothing affair that occurs uniformly in space. Rather, realistic management scenarios must take account of spatial heterogeneity in underlying resources, as well as how such heterogeneity interacts with management through time. Given that there are a variety of potential criteria which affect the system management, so that the underlying non-spatial issue may be viewed as a multiple criteria optimization problem, how should the control of the system be applied spatially in order to carry out the optimization? This is a little-developed area of applied mathematics, particularly in systems in which there are stochastic factors which interact with the management scheme. Yet such control problems are at the heart of much of applied ecology today.

This special session will bring together researchers from the theoretical ecology, geographic information systems, forest management, and computational ecology communities to discuss alternative approaches. The speakers include individuals who have recently been actively publishing in the area of spatial control. There will be a mixture of theory and application within the session, including discussions of the variety of techniques available to deal with spatial management, as well as alternative model structures (e.g., spatial cell, metapopulation, and continuous space) and levels of resolution (individual, population, community). The session will provide attendees with a summary of the state of the art and hopefully encourage attendees to attempt new collaborations in an area that has great promise to aid natural system management and which provides interesting theoretical challenges as well. A round-table discussion will follow the formal presentations.

Lou Gross – Introduction

John Hof* and Michael Bevers.
Spatial optimization in ecological applications.

Michael Bevers*, Laurel Travis and Curtis Flather.
Spatial reserve design: a comparison of methods for determining optimal habitat layouts for an endangered species.

Jerome Chave* and Simon Levin.
Spatial and biological aspects of reserve design.

Hugh Possingham*, Michael Westphal, Andrew Tyre, Bridgitte Tenhumberg and Scott Field.
How to manage a metapopulation.

Craig Loehle.
Interchange approaches for optimal control of processes on landscapes.

Steven Harper*, James Westerveltand Ann-Marie Shapiro.
Dynamic spatial control of pests at the landscape scale: an example with cowbirds.

Rene’ Salinas* and Louis J. Gross.
Spatial control and individual-based modeling: hunting and bears in the Southern Appalachians.