A new generic model for assessing the viability of spatially structured populations, ALEX (Analysis of the Likelihood of EXtinction), is described. Strengths and weaknesses of ALEX are discussed. ALEX only models one sex, ignores genetics, and is inadequate for modelling the dynamics of very small populations. However ALEX contains four features that make it useful for assessing the merits of different management options for populations that are distributed in a spatially complex landscape: (1) ALEX allows each patch to have different qualities including a habitat variable that may respond to catastrophes. In this way the dynamics of species which prefer a particular successional stage of a habitat can be modelled. (2) ALEX allows the user to specify a wide variety of catastrophic processes that affect and may depend on population size and/or the state of the habitat in a patch. (3) Sensitivity analysis is essential to the PVA process. ALEX allows automatic sensitivity analysis of most parameters. Although demographic stochasticity is modelled, ALEX can quickly simulate the dynamics of very large populations. (4) Modelling movement between patches by individuals is an important part of the dynamics of spatially structured populations. ALEX permits two types of movement by individuals. This allows the user to explore the importance of corridors, habitat selection, and mortality associated with dispersal.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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