Payal Bal

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PhD Candidate, University of Queensland

November 2012 – current

MRes, University of St Andrews, U.K.

Email: p.bal@uq.edu.au

University of Queensland web page: http://www.gpem.uq.edu.au/payal-bal-204615

ARC CEED web page: http://ceed.edu.au/ceed-researchers/everyone/ms-payal-bal.html

I am interested in understanding the use and selection of indicators of biodiversity in conservation decision making.

Indicators are cost-effective short cuts that aid in monitoring biodiversity for the purpose of learning or informing management. However, in most cases, indicators used in management of biodiversity are originally designed for learning purposes rather than to inform state-dependent management decisions. Using wrong kinds of indicators may be costly and may detract attention and resources from management needed to achieve the goal of biodiversity conservation. Using principles of decision theory and optimal monitoring, my PhD will develop a framework for indicator selection that explicitly links the indicator to the management objective, the expected improvement in management performance and the cost of monitoring. Such an approach can help us choose cost-effective indicators so that we get maximum management benefit for every dollar spent on monitoring. I will also test analytical methods (such as value of information and monitoring PPP) that can be used within the framework to find optimal indicators given a management objective. Through the use of case studies I will explore different scenarios of decision making that vary in context and scale to find real world applicability for these frameworks. In the face of limited resources for biodiversity conservation, linking costs and benefits of indicators will significantly advance monitoring strategies for biodiversity by making them more accountable and cost-effective.

This PhD is jointly supervised by Dr Jonathan Rhodes, Dr Eve McDonald-Madden and Dr Ayesha Tulloch

Prior to commencing my PhD, I have worked with the Center for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, the Institut Français de Pondichéry and the Bombay Natural History Society on conservation research and communication.

Publications

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human–Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9636-1

 Conference presentations

Bal, P., Rhodes, J. 2013. Selecting indicators for conservation decision making at Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decision (ARC CEED) 2013 Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3-6 September 2013

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. 2013. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Human–elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu  at Student Conference on Conservation Science, 21-31 January 2013, Brisbane, Australia

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. 2012. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Human–elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu  at Student Conference on Conservation Science, 2-4 August 2012, Bangalore, India.

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. 2009. The wicked elephant of the east: Coping with human elephant conflicts in coffee agro-forestry landscapes in Kodagu (India) at 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry, 23-28 August 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. 2008. Drivers of human elephant interactions in coffee agro-forestry landscapes in Kodagu (Western Ghats), India at CAFNET workshop, October 2008, Karnataka, India

Bal, P., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G. and Garcia, C. 2008. Status and management of human elephant conflict in southern Kodagu at Karnataka forest department headquarters, October 2008, Bangalore, India, 

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