The clock is ticking: Temporally prioritizing eradications on islands.

Global Change Biology
Zachary T CarterJames C Russell

Abstract

Achieving conservation objectives is time critical, but the vast number of threats and potential actions means some form of ranking is necessary to aid prioritization. Objective methods for ranking conservation actions based on when they are differentially likely to become feasible, or to succeed, are currently unavailable within existing decision-making frameworks but are critical for making informed management decisions. We demonstrate how statistical tools developed for survival (or time-to-event) analysis can be used to rank conservation actions over time, through the lens of invasive mammal eradications on islands. Here we forecast the probability of eradicating commensal rat species (Rattus rattus, R. norvegicus, R. exulans) from the New Zealand archipelago by the government's stated target of year 2050. Our methods provide temporally ranked eradication trajectories for the entire country, thus facilitating meeting nationwide policy goals. This demonstration highlights the relevance and applicability of such an approach and its utility for prioritizing globally effective conservation actions.

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