Mathematical models outwit poachers

The protection of endangered plants and animals could be improved by using a new mathematical model designed by environmental scientists.

The team, led by UQ’s Andrew Plumptre, used spatial planning tool Marxan to plot data collected in Africa’s Greater Virunga Landscape on where poaching and illegal logging was most prevalent, its impact on wildlife and the related costs of patrolling threatened areas.

It was found that only 22% of the landscape was being effectively patrolled – most within 3km of patrol posts.

The new model allows rangers to target vulnerable areas and increase the efficiency and economy of patrol by up to 63%.

The method could also be used to prevent major weed invasions or the human disturbance of threatened species.

Read more at The University of Queensland