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Decision support for the ecosystem based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot presents effective strategies and challenges

Robinson, LM, Marzloff, MP ORCID: 0000-0002-8152-4273, van Putten, I, Pecl, G ORCID: 0000-0003-0192-4339, Jennings, S ORCID: 0000-0002-5760-4193, Nicol, S, Hobday, AJ, Tracey, S ORCID: 0000-0002-6735-5899, Hartmann, K ORCID: 0000-0002-2039-8867, Haward, M ORCID: 0000-0003-4775-0864 and Frusher, S ORCID: 0000-0003-2493-3676 2020 , 'Decision support for the ecosystem based management of a range-extending species in a global marine hotspot presents effective strategies and challenges' , Ecosystems , pp. 1-20 , doi: 10.1007/s10021-020-00560-1.

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Climate-driven changes in ocean currents have facilitated the range extension of the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) from Australia’s mainland to eastern Tasmania over recent decades. Since its arrival, the destructive grazing of the urchin has led to widespread formation of sea urchin ‘barrens’. The loss of habitat, biodiversity and productivity for important commercial reef species in conjunction with the development of an urchin fishery has led to conflicting objectives among some stakeholders that pose complex challenges for regional management. Stakeholders representatives and managers were engaged via a participatory workshop and subsequent one-on-one surveys to trial a structured decision making process to identify effective ecosystem-based management strategies. We directly and indirectly elicited each preferences for nine alternative management strategies by presenting them with the 10-year consequences of each strategy estimated from an ecosystem model of Tasmanian reef communities. These preferences were included in cost-effectiveness scores that were averaged (across stakeholders) to enable strategy ranking from most to least cost-effective. Rankings revealed strategies that included sea urchin removal or translocation of predatory lobsters were the most cost-effective. However, assessment of stakeholders’ individual cost-effectiveness scores showed some disparity among preferences in high ranking strategies. Additionally, inconsistencies in strategy preferences using alternative (direct or indirect) ranking scores reveal conflicting objectives as the most plausible explanation. Our study illustrates how structured decision making can effectively facilitate ecosystem-based management by engaging stakeholders step-by-step towards management strategy implementation and promoting collective learning.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Robinson, LM and Marzloff, MP and van Putten, I and Pecl, G and Jennings, S and Nicol, S and Hobday, AJ and Tracey, S and Hartmann, K and Haward, M and Frusher, S
Keywords: structured decision making, decision analysis, multi-method elicitation, stakeholder engagement, ecosystem-based management, species range extension, keystone herbivore, global marine hotspot
Journal or Publication Title: Ecosystems
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 1432-9840
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s10021-020-00560-1
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Copyright 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature

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