Typically, landscape ecologists use empirical observations to conduct research and devise solutions for applied problems in conservation and management. In some instances, they rely on advice and input of experienced professionals in both developing and applying knowledge. Given the wealth of expert knowledge and the risks of its informal and implicit applications in landscape ecology, it is necessary to formally recognize and characterize expert knowledge and bring rigor to methods for its applications. In this context, the broad goal of Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology is to introduce the concept of expert knowledge and examine its role in landscape ecological applications. We plan to do so in three steps:
First we introduce the topic to landscape ecologists, explore salient characteristics of experts and expert knowledge, and describe methods used in capturing and formalizing that knowledge.
Second, we present examples of research in landscape ecology from a variety of ecosystems and geographic locations that formally incorporate expert knowledge. These case studies address a range of topics that will interest landscape ecologists and other resource management and conservation professionals including the specific roles of expert knowledge in developing, testing, parameterizing, and applying models; estimating the uncertainty in expert knowledge; developing methods of formalizing and incorporating expert knowledge; and using expert knowledge as competing models and a source of alternate hypotheses.
Third, we synthesize the state of knowledge on this topic and critically examine the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating expert knowledge in landscape ecological applications.
The disciplinary subject areas Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology addresss are broad and cover much of the scope of contemporary landscape ecology, including broad-scale forest management and conservation, quantifying forest disturbances and succession, conservation of habitats for a range of avian and mammal species, vulnerability and conservation of marine ecosystems, and the spread and impacts of invasive plants.
Through this Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology, we will catalyze further thought and investigations on expert knowledge among the target readership of researchers, practitioners, and graduate students in landscape ecology.
List of Contributors
1. Experts, expert knowledge, and their roles in landscape ecological applications Ajith H. Perera, C. Ashton Drew, and Chris J. Johnson
2. What is expert knowledge, how is such knowledge gathered, and how do we use it to address questions in landscape ecology? Marissa F. McBride and Mark A. Burgman
3. Elicitator: a user-friendly, interactive tool to support scenario-based elicitation of expert knowledge Samantha Low-Choy, Allan James, Justine Murray, and Kerrie Mengersen
4. Eliciting expert knowledge of forest succession using an innovative software tool Michael Drescher, Lisa J. Buse, Ajith H. Perera, and Marc R. Ouellette
5. Expert knowledge as a foundation for the management of secretive species and their habitat C. Ashton Drew and Jaime A. Collazo
6. Incorporating expert knowledge in decision-support models for avian conservation Allison T. Moody and James B. Grand
7. An expert-based modeling approach to inform strategic and operational land management decisions for the recovery of woodland caribou R. Scott McNay
8. Using expert knowledge effectively: lessons from species distribution models for wildlife conservation and management Chris J. Johnson, Michael Hurley, Eric Rapaport, and Michael Pullinger
9. Exploring expert knowledge of forest succession: an assessment of uncertainty and a comparison with empirical data Michael Drescher and Ajith H. Perera
10. Assessing knowledge ambiguity in the creation of a model based on expert knowledge and comparison with the results of a landscape succession model in central Labrador Frederik Doyon, Brian R. Sturtevant, Michael Papaik, Andrew Fall, Brian Miranda, Dan Kneeshaw, Christian Messier, Marie-Josee Fortin, and Patrick James
11. Use of expert knowledge to develop fuel maps for wildland fire management Robert E. Keane and Matt Reeves
12. Using Bayesian mixture models that combine expert knowledge and GIS data to define ecoregions Kristen J. Williams, Samantha J. Low-Choy, Wayne Rochester, and Clair Alston
13. Eliciting expert knowledge of ecosystem vulnerability to human stressors to support comprehensive ocean management Carrie V. Kappel, Benjamin S. Halpern, Kimberly A. Selkoe, and Roger M. Cooke
14. Elicitation and use of expert knowledge in landscape ecological applications: a synthesis Chris J. Johnson, C. Ashton Drew, and Ajith H. Perera
Ajith H. Perera is Senior Research Scientist in the Forest Landscape Ecology Program at the Ontario Forest Research Institute, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. C. Ashton Drew is Research Associate in the North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, North Carolina State University. Chris J. Johnston is Associate Professor in the Ecosystem Science Management Program at the University of Northern British Columbia.
"The volume is comprised of contributed chapters featuring a nice variety of research questions, ecosystems and approaches, all from a landscape ecology perspective. The quality of the chapters is consistently high, and the explicit focus on the application of expert knowledge (EK) is the unifying thread. [...] The volume was explicitly aimed at landscape ecologists, although ecologists of all stripes will find this information extremely useful. [...] I most certainly recommend this book to any ecologist that relies on EK in their work."
- Eric J. Gustafson, Landscape Ecology, Vol. 28, 2013