A recent article in The University of Melbourne’s publicity magazine, The Voice, featured an article about adaptive management of malleefowl. This is a research project being run by Qaecologists Michael Bode, Libby Rumpff and Brendan Wintle, collaborating with the malleefowl managers. It is funded by the Australian Research Council through the Linkage Grant program
Malleefowl have declined throughout most of their range. The factors that drive that decline and how best to recover the species are unclear. The influence of fire, weather, clearing of vegetation, and threats from introduced predators (cats and foxes) are implicated, but the evidence about the relative influence of these factors on changes in abundance are unclear.
Research can help to resolve some of this uncertainty, but when is the money best spent on research rather than spending that money on management? Adaptive management aims to help balance the trade-off that is implicit in that question.
This particular project aims to implement an adaptive management program to help determine optimal combinations of management and monitoring for improving the conservation status of malleefowl. It is a good example of how Qaecologists aim to help managers of biodiversity make better management decisions in the face of uncertainty.