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Theor Popul Biol. 2006 Dec;70(4):431-5. Epub 2006 May 23.

A simple approach to optimal control of invasive species.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The problem of invasive species and their control is one of the most pressing applied issues in ecology today. We developed simple approaches based on linear programming for determining the optimal removal strategies of different stage or age classes for control of invasive species that are still in a density-independent phase of growth. We illustrate the application of this method to the specific example of invasive Spartina alterniflora in Willapa Bay, WA. For all such systems, linear programming shows in general that the optimal strategy in any time step is to prioritize removal of a single age or stage class. The optimal strategy adjusts which class is the focus of control through time and can be much more cost effective than prioritizing removal of the same stage class each year.

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