Project Description

Dr Matthew Holden

The University of Queensland

Using dynamic models to aid the conservation of harvested populations

Modelling ecologies & populations

Thursday 6 July 2017

Matthew is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland. He earned his PhD in Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, using math to improve invasive species and agricultural pest control. His current research fits within two themes (1) evaluating the efficacy of quantitative approaches to natural resource management and (2) understanding the dynamics of social-ecological systems, where policy affects human behaviour. Mathematical tools unify his research across several diverse topics, including illegal wildlife trade and fisheries stock assessment.

In this talk, we discuss dynamic modelling to improve the conservation of exploited species. Using simple coupled nonlinear differential equations, we will explore how the price of plant and animal products can reveal the fate of harvested populations under different management scenarios, such as trade bans, better enforcement of harvest regulations, and advertising campaigns. We will elucidate some of the results by discussing the illegal trade of ivory, and its effects on future African elephant population sizes.