PhD title: A multi-scale bio-economic approach to optimising the management of emerging rodent crop pests
Supervisors: Prof Xavier Lambin, Bea Arroyo, Francois Mougeot, Juancho Luque-Larena
Start and end date of the PhD: 3/10/16 – 3/10/20
This project will formulate and parameterise bio-economic models of vole pest control in farmland environment (e.g. Stenseth et al. 2003) so as to optimise the effectiveness of integrated management strategies that minimise the impact on non-target species. It will empirically estimate key variables including: 1) the relationship between vole abundance and damage to crops; 2) the risk of secondary poisoning by non-target fauna in relation to the seasonal timing of toxin use and presence of vulnerable migratory or endemic species; 3) the impact of alternatives to the use of toxins such as management of field margins by burning or scraping, both on voles and non-target species, 4) the effectiveness of soil management aimed at collapsing burrow systems, either through the use of cattle, simulated cattle or deep ploughing. Optimisation models will be used to explore the value of monitoring to enable early and more benign interventions in the development of outbreaks through, for example, the deployment of raptor perches over isolated vole colonies in largely tree-less intensively farmed landscapes. The acceptability of management models by farmers will be mainly assessed through interviews and workshops with farmer’s cooperatives.