Applying population ecology to strategies for eradicating invasive forest insects

University of California-Santa Barbara; USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station; New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research Ltd.; AgResearch; Michigan State University; The Ohio State University; National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (Japan); Resources for the Future

SUMMARY: Partnering organizations are collaborating to formulate and optimize new strategies for eradicating alien species and for identifying conditions under which eradication is practical.

EFETAC'S ROLE: This project is supported by EFETAC funding and collaborative research.

STATUS: Completed

PROGRESS: Participants in the project convened for four meetings at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (a research center of the University of California, Santa Barbara) between July 2009 and August 2011.

Project themes included:

1. Building and analyzing data on past projects that aimed to eradicate plant insects or terrestrial arthropods that feed on plants and on humans or other animals.

2. Analyzing and modeling interactions between different methods for eradication (for example, application of pesticides versus disruption of breeding).

3. Optimization of the proportion of funds spent on detection versus eradication of non-native invasive forest insects. Participants focused on situations in which the exact location and size of outbreaks of insects was uncertain. They optimized the configuration and number of sensors to monitor and eradicate those insects.

4. Optimization of survey programs for non-native invasive forest insects.

5. Overall optimization of methods for eradication. Participants developed a method for making decisions about eradication that minimize total costs and damages of an insect outbreak given unpredictable population dynamics. Work focused on eradication of small, low-density populations of non-native forest insects.

6. Synthesis of information on the scientific basis for eradication of non-native forest insects.

The collaborative group presented several symposia on insect eradication and produced the following publications:

Berec, L., J.M. Kean, R. Epanchin-Niell, A M. Liebhold and R.G. Haight. 2015. Designing efficient surveys: spatial arrangement of sample points for detection of invasive species. Biological Invasions 17:445-459. (PDF)

Blackwood, J.C., L. Berec, T. Yamanaka, R.S. Epanchin-Niell, A. Hastings, and A.M. Liebhold. Bioeconomic synergy between tactics for insect eradication in the presence of Allee effects. 2012. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:2807-2815. (PDF)

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., R.G. Haight, L. Berec, J.M. Kean, and A.M. Liebhold. 2012. Optimal surveillance and eradication of invasive species in heterogeneous landscapes. Ecology Letters 15:803-812. (PDF)

Suckling, D.M., P.C. Tobin, D.G. McCullough, and D.A. Herms. 2012. Combining tactics to exploit Allee effects for eradication of alien insect populations. Journal of Economic Entomology 105(1):1-13. (PDF)

Tobin, P.C., L. Berec, and A.M. Liebhold. 2011. Exploiting Allee effects for managing biological invasions. Ecology Letters 14:615-624. (PDF)

Tobin, P., J.M. Kean, D.M. Suckling, D.G. McCullough, D. Herms, and L.D. Stringer. 2014. Determinants of successful arthropod eradication programs. Biological Invasions. 16:401-414. (PDF)

Manuscripts in preparation:

Berec, L., J.M. Kean, Epanchin-Niell, R.S., R.G. Haight, T. Yamanaka, and A.M. Liebhold. Spatial arrangement of survey points for early detection of invading species. Ecological Applications.

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., J.C. Blackburn, L. Berec, A. Hastings, and A.M. Liebhold. Optimal pest eradication in an uncertain world with Allee effects. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Kean, J.M., D.M. Suckling, P.C. Tobin, D.G. McCullough, and D.A Herms. An empirical investigation of historical insect eradication attempts. Environmental Entomology.

Liebhold, A.M., R.S. Epanchin-Niell, D.M. Suckling, P.C. Tobin, D.G. McCullough, D.A Herms, R.G. Haight, L. Berec, and J.M. Kean, Eradication of invading insect populations: not necessarily a dumb idea. Journal of Applied Ecology.




Updated March 2015

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