"This is consequently very much a hands-on work and ideal as a basic manual for a course on the topic. At the same time, it will be of value to conservationists who wish to understand the basis of some modeling approach they find in a paper directly pertinent to their particular interests." (Biodivers Conserv, 2011)
An easy approach to modelling." (Mammalia, April 2009)
"This is a very interesting text. ... The focus on method and theory as well as programming means that the text encourages the reader to question even basic assumptions." (Ecological and Environmental Education)
This short book has been developed from a course that introduces students to the basic concepts of modelling and their applications in wildlife and resource conservation. The aim is to get students over the hump of thinking that modelling is difficult and mathematical, towards the stage where they appreciate that models are easily developed with the aid of a computer and can be a valuable learning aid and necessary adjunct to confronting real problems in conservation. The models are kept simple, and developed from first principles in a transparent way. The text is backed by computational models written using True BASIC as a programming language, which is simple enough to be readily understood. Students are encouraged to develop their own counterpart models using a spreadsheet format.Areas covered include large mammals, fishes and gamebirds, as well as the vegetation resources and habitats upon which these species depend. Broader principles governing sustainable use of the resources constituted by these populations and those of similar organisms are exemplified. The book could serve as an adjunct to textbooks in principles of ecology, in particular the book by Sinclair et al, Wildlife Ecology, Management and Conservation which is currently in press. Much is currently being written about the need to make biologists quantitatively, and particularly computer literate. Computational rather than mathematical approaches to modelling are emphasized so as not to put off the less mathematically inclined. Nevertheless in the process the students learn to confront equations and be inducted into how these equations govern dynamic outputs captured in graphs.