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Hulme P.E.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2012

Many alien weeds pose significant environmental and/or economic threats across the globe, and methods to assess the potential risk of species introductions are key components in the management of plant invasions. Three broad approaches have been adopted in weed risk assessment: quantitative statistical models, semi-quantitative scoring and qualitative expert assessment. Yet, the effectiveness of these different approaches is rarely evaluated. By bringing together perspectives drawn from statistics, complexity theory, bioeconomics and cognitive psychology, this review presents the first interdisciplinary appraisal of whether weed risk assessment is a valuable tool in the management of plant invasions. Problems in obtaining an objective measure of the hazards posed by weeds, challenges of predicting complex hierarchical and nonlinear systems, difficulties in quantifying uncertainty and variability, as well as cognitive biases in expert judgement, all limit the utility of current risk assessment approaches. The accuracy of weed risk assessment protocols is usually insufficient, given inherent low base-rates even when the costs and benefits of decisions are taken into account, and implies that the predictive value of weed risk assessment is questionable. Current practices could be improved to address consistent hazard identification, encompass a hierarchy of spatio-temporal scales, incorporate uncertainty, generate realistic base-rates, and train risk assessors to limit cognitive biases. However, such refinements may still fail to predict weed risks any better than a knowledge of prior invasion history and quality of climate match. Alternative approaches include scenario planning that seeks qualitative inputs regarding hypothetical events to facilitate long-range planning using multiple alternatives each explicit in their treatment of uncertainty. This represents a change from prevention towards adaptive management where the difficulty in prediction is acknowledged and investment targets early detection, mitigation and management. Synthesis and applications. Scenario planning may be particularly suitable for weeds as they can be rapidly surveyed and have sufficiently long lag phases between naturalisation and invasion that early detection is often feasible. If integrated with assessments of ecosystem vulnerability to invasion and interventions to improve ecosystem resilience, it would deliver a robust post-border approach to invasive plant management. This approach would address threats from new introductions as well as 'sleeper weeds' already present in a region. © 2011 The Author. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Nuthall P.L.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2012

Successful grazing management is critical for stock farmers using pasture as the main source of food. Yet many farmers fall a long way short of the output of animal products possible given the pasture production achieved. Farmers have available a number of formal tools to help manage grazing systems, yet few make use of them. Another approach is to develop 'expert systems' encapsulating the skills of the most efficient farmers. This idea is explored based on the information obtained from three successful farmers who were interviewed on a regular basis over several years. The conclusion was that the rules and systems used by one farmer are not likely to apply to another due to their uniqueness. In effect the farmers build up their own personalised intuitive expert system. Thus, a more practical approach is to better train this intuitive skill. A discussion on what constitutes an expert is provided as this leads onto isolating the skills that need improving, and then onto exploring intuition and how it embodies the expert skills. A conclusion on how a farmer's intuition might be improved is offered. Intuition is used by all farmers so the discussion has implications for all farming types. Finally, comments on research into intuition are offered. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Hulme P.E.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2011

Increasing evidence highlights the role that botanic gardens might have in plant invasions across the globe. Botanic gardens, often in global biodiversity hotspots, have been implicated in the early cultivation and/or introduction of most environmental weeds listed by IUCN as among the worst invasive species worldwide. Furthermore, most of the popular ornamental species in living collections around the globe have records as alien weeds. Voluntary codes of conduct to prevent the dissemination of invasive plants from botanic gardens have had limited uptake, with few risk assessments undertaken of individual living collections. A stronger global networking of botanic gardens to tackle biological invasions involving public outreach, information sharing and capacity building is a priority to prevent the problems of the past occurring in the future. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Wargent J.J.,Massey University | Jordan B.R.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
New Phytologist | Year: 2013

Largely because of concerns regarding global climate change, there is a burgeoning interest in the application of fundamental scientific knowledge in order to better exploit environmental cues in the achievement of desirable endpoints in crop production. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is an energetic driver of a diverse range of plant responses and, despite historical concerns regarding the damaging consequences of UV-B radiation for global plant productivity as related to stratospheric ozone depletion, current developments representative of a range of organizational scales suggest that key plant responses to UV-B radiation may be exploitable in the context of a sustainable contribution towards the strengthening of global crop production, including alterations in secondary metabolism, enhanced photoprotection, up-regulation of the antioxidative response and modified resistance to pest and disease attack. Here, we discuss the prospect of this paradigm shift in photobiology, and consider the linkages between fundamental plant biology and crop-level outcomes that can be applied to the plant UV-B response, in addition to the consequences for related biota and many other facets of agro-ecosystem processes. © 2013 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

Swaffield S.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Landscape Ecology | Year: 2013

The relationship between science, design, local governance and values is explored using a Christchurch New Zealand case study. Arguments for greater use of design in science are reviewed, and design revealed as fundamentally different from science, being based upon values rather than logic. The role of local governance is examined, and also shown to be value based. This creates tensions with conventional logic based approaches to landscape science. A recently proposed model of design in science is compared with an alternative model that emerges from the recent experience of preparing a wetlands and waterways strategy, in which science is instead engaged with a values based design process. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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