Development of a user-friendly management tool to assess spatial and functional heterogeneity in a South African savanna ecosystem.
Genova, Robert*,1, Saah, David1, Driskill, Scott1, Benning, Tracy1, 1 University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
ABSTRACT- Managers of game parks and wildlife preserves need the ability to evaluate the effects of management policy on the ecosystems under their jurisdictions. Modeling tools developed by the scientific community have the potential to fill this void, but due to their often highly technical nature and non-intuitive user interfaces, the management community has met them with limited acceptance. In order to help bridge the gap between the scientific and management communities in the area of ecosystem heterogeneity and ecological process modeling, we have developed a spatially explicit ecosystem model (ArcCentury) based on the CENTURY Soil Organic Matter Model (version 4) and packaged it within a user-friendly interface. The first phase of the development of ArcCentury consisted of translating CENTURY from FORTRAN 77/C to Visual Basic. ArcCentury was then regression tested through output comparison with CENTURY to ensure the integrity of the modeling engine. The mathematical equations used by CENTURY were kept intact. The second development phase involved modifying the model to make it spatially explicit. Phase three will involve a complete rewrite of ArcCentury from its current procedural structure to an object based structure. The immediate need being addressed is to provide a means of evaluating management options within the savanna ecosystem of Kruger National Park, South Africa. In addition, both scientist and managers alike can use this model as a tool to test various questions regarding savanna heterogeneity and ecosystem function. Initial test of this model have focused on examining the role of riparian ecosystem types within the savanna matrix. These tests have confirmed the structural integrity of the model as well as the friendliness of the user interface for non-scientist.
Key words: ecosystem process model, African Savanna, ArcCentury
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