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Tuesday, January 26 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Recreation Management For Wildlife and Humans: An Interdisciplinary Simulation Modeling Approach

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AUTHORS: Alexander J. Cohen*, Cardno / Purdue University; Shadi Atallah, University of New Hampshire / Purdue University; Patrick A. Zollner, Purdue University; Zhao Ma, Purdue University, Silvestre Garcia de Jalon, Purdue University; Linda Prokopy, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: The protection, management, and sustainable use of natural systems require integrated study of coupled natural-human systems. Simulation modeling tools, including individual-based models in ecology and agent-based models in economics and the social sciences, are valuable approaches to better understand complex systems and inform management decisions. However, these models often depict one class of agents (e.g., humans or birds) realistically while overlooking important complexity in the other class, potentially leading to misguiding results. For this study, we built a simulation modeling tool to incorporate complexity and adaptive behavior for both human recreationists and nesting birds in a state park system. Additionally, we carried out an intercept survey of recreational park users to inform our model. This study built upon a previous modeling study at Fort Harrison State Park in Indiana. Our model simulated various types of recreationists (e.g., bikers and birders) moving throughout a trail system, accumulating utility, and behaving adaptively by, for example, searching for birds, tracking encounters with other recreationists, and adapting their budgeted length of stay according to their experience. Birds foraged across a habitat-diverse landscape, returned energy to nests, and responded to disturbance via behavioral changes. Model scenarios included different mixes of recreationists and variable enforcement of trail boundaries. Simulation results reflect a model that successfully depicts a coupled system with feedback loops -- for example, when birders were allowed to go off trails at will, overall disturbance to birds increased, which caused some bird nests to fail and those birds to leave the area, decreasing the utility gained by a birder on a given future visit. Intercept survey results helped to further refine model parameterization, leading to a model which can reliably test the predicted impacts of different park management scenarios. This study synthesizes approaches from multiple disciplines and provides a framework for future, larger-scale modeling studies in other systems.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Emerald A