Integrating landscape simulation models with economic and decision tools for invasive species control.
In managing invasive species, land managers and policy makers need information to help allocate scarce resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. Decisions regarding treatment methods, locations, effort, and timing can be informed by the integration of landscape simulation models with economic tools. State and transition simulation models align with conceptual models of ecosystem change often used by practitioners and have been used to characterize the potential consequences of invasions. Outputs of these simulations are typically summarized to describe landscape changes (e.g., infested area), which may provide sufficient information for mangers to make informed decisions. However, it is sometimes helpful or necessary to go a step further to consider the social and economic values associated with treating (or not treating) invasions. Here, we describe when and how to integrate state and transition simulation models with economic and decision tools to aid in the control of emerging and established populations of invasive species. The paper provides an overview of three types of questions that can be addressed: (1) how big is the problem? (2) which management strategy is most appropriate? And (3) what are key sources of uncertainty? For each question, we describe aspects that can be addressed by landscape simulation models alone, and outstanding questions that can be evaluated by integrating economic and decision tools. Through a series of example applications from the literature, we reinforce how the integration of these tools, and the interdisciplinary perspective such an integration requires, can increase relevance and utility of modeling efforts for resource managers and decision makers.