Evaluating Protection Strategies for an Invasive Plant Species: Miconia calvescens

RESEARCH PAPERS ARE PRELIMINARY MATERIALS CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. WHILE RESEARCH PAPERS BENEFIT FROM ACTIVE UHERO DISCUSSION, THEY HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FORMAL ACADEMIC PEER REVIEW.

The choice to shift among invasive species management strategies depends on ecological, biological, and economic conditions that vary by species, location, and stage of invasion. Typically, as time and area invaded increases, economic returns to management shift away from prevention and eradication, and towards species containment and/or asset protection. This is the case for Miconia calvescens (M. Calvescens) in the East Maui Watershed (EMW), Hawaiʻi where the species was introduced to a private nursery and botanical gardens 50 years ago, and subsequently escaped and spread throughout the forests of East Maui. While ground management efforts have been continuous since the early 1990s, this research focuses exclusively on the efficacy and impact of aerial herbicide ballistic technology (HBT) management efforts. We use a 25-yr management data set identifying the location and time of each M. calvescens individual eliminated to develop a spatiotemporal spread model, and use information on treatment costs and potential avoided damages to assess the relative benefit-cost ratio of a management strategies such as inaction, containment, and asset protection, under a number of EMW-informed biological and economic parameters. The primary goal of the research presented is to develop an operational methodology for evaluating biological and economic outcomes of containment and asset protection management strategies for M. calvescens in East Maui.

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