The appropriate frequency and precision for surveys of wildlife populations represent a trade-off between survey cost and the risk of making suboptimal management decisions because of poor survey data. The commercial harvest of kangaroos is primarily regulated through annual quotas set as proportions of absolute estimates of population size. Stochastic models were used to explore the effects of varying precision, survey frequency and harvest rate on the risk of quasiextinction for an arid-zone and a more mesic-zone kangaroo population. Quasiextinction probability increases in a sigmoidal fashion as survey frequency is reduced. The risk is greater in more arid regions and is highly sensitive to harvest rate. An appropriate management regime involves regular surveys in the major harvest areas where harvest rate can be set close to the maximum sustained yield. Outside these areas, survey frequency can be reduced in relatively mesic areas and reduced in arid regions when combined with lowered harvest rates. Relative to other factors, quasiextinction risk is only affected by survey precision (standard error/mean × 100) when it is >50%, partly reflecting the safety of the strategy of harvesting a proportion of a population estimate.
|Author||A. R. Pople|
|Secondary title||Wildlife Research|
|Institution||University of Queensland|
|Department||The Ecology Centre, School of Integrative Biology|