Dr Yung En Chee
||Natural Philosophy Building (G07B)|
|Phone||+61 3 8344 0071|
|Fax||+61 3 9348 1620|
My research interest is applied decision analysis for all aspects of conservation and ecosystem management. Decision making in ecosystem management is a process of balancing multiple objectives, constraints, trade-offs and uncertainties often against a complex backdrop of socio-economic, cultural and political considerations and limited ecological knowledge. Part of the challenge in providing credible, effective decision support tools involves improving rigour, transparency and realism in problem formulation and analysis by explicitly accounting for resource constraints, environmental stochasticity and imperfect knowledge. They form some of the main themes which inform my research.
In my Phd work, I explored, applied and evaluated methodological frameworks and quantitative tools to assist environmental decision making under uncertainty, focussing on two main approaches: economic valuation of ecosystem services and ecological risk assessment (ERA). (This work is summarized in the papers and reports listed under Publications.)
Post-Phd I spent a seven month stint at the eWater CRC at the University of Melbourne working with Mike Stewardson, Angus Webb & Peter Cottingham to develop the Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program (VEFMAP) for Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) (contact: Dr Sabine Schreiber). In this project, we developed conceptual models of expected biotic and abiotic responses to environmental flow prescriptions and identified relevant, feasible indicators for monitoring geomorphology, macroinvertebrates, fish, aquatic and riparian vegetation and water quality. Monitoring design and recommendations for analysis and evaluation methodologies were produced for eight high-priority river systems in Victoria (see Publications for further detail).
I am presently employed as a post-doc on an ARC Linkage project aimed at developing effective model-based tools for planning and monitoring the restoration of riverine ecosystems (Project ID: LP0667891). The industry partners on this ARC Linkage are the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) and Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment. My main collaborators are Drs Jane Elith and Peter Vesk (School of Botany, UniMelb), John Leathwick (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, NIWA, New Zealand) and Simon Nicol (Arthur Rylah Institute for Enviornmental Research, DSE).
I am currently trying to assemble the necessary raw ingredients for modelling species’ distributions of freshwater fish species in Victorian rivers and streams. Species-habitat distribution models can provide valuable insight into the relationships between species and their environments and have a range of potential applications in conservation planning, management and monitoring. These include applications such as:
I have also recently collaborated with Dr Brendan Wintle on a project undertaken in partnership with Parks Victoria (contact: Dr John Wright). In this project, we developed a Bayesian model-based framework for monitoring and managing population control. Monitoring is often cited as a central to decision making under an adaptive management model, though examples of successfully integrated monitoring and management are surprisingly few in the ecological literature. This may in part be due to a lack of willingness on behalf of managers and scientists to exactly specify how monitoring results will be used to alter management or policy, and in part due to the inappropriateness of standard statistical approaches to interpreting monitoring data. No single monitoring strategy is appropriate for all management problems and monitoring strategies must be tailored to the nature of the management decisions, the financial and practical constraints faced by managers, and the nature of organisms under surveillance. We used a novel, integrated Bayesian population modeling and monitoring framework to assist with dynamic management of an annually harvested kangaroo population. The framework relies on an under-utilised population estimation method known as ‘removal sampling’ that exploits the information inherent in culling effort. The use of removal sampling theory to estimate population size improves economic efficiency by removing the need for extra monitoring, when the goal is solely to estimation population size. The Bayesian removal estimation model also provides a natural way to update yearly population model predictions with the monitoring data that is collected during culling. We used an example of kangaroo population control in Wyperfield National Park in north-west Victoria to describe and demonstrate our framework. (Manuscript in preparation).
Chee, Y.E. (2004) An ecological perspective on the valuation of ecosystem services. Biological Conservation, 120, 549-565.
Carey, J.M., Burgman, M.A. and Chee, Y.E. (2004) Risk Assessment and the Concept of Ecosystem Condition in Park Management. Parks Victoria Technical Series No. 13, Parks Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Carey, J.M., Burgman, M.A., Miller, C. and Chee, Y.E. (2005) An application of qualitative risk assessment in park management. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 12, 6-15.
Chee, Y.E. (2005) Decision Support Tools for Environmental Flow Management. Phd Thesis, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Chee, Y.E., Burgman, M. and Carey, J. (2005) Use of a Bayesian Network Decision Tool to Manage Environmental flows in the Wimmera River, Victoria. Report No. 4, LWA/MDBC Project UMO43: Delivering Sustainability Through Risk Management.
Carey, J., Fox, D., Burgman, M., Chee, Y.E., Hart, B., Pollino, C., White, A., Grace, A., Henderson, B. and Bui, E. (2006) Guidelines for Quantifying the Ecological Risks from Contaminants in Catchments. Report No. 1, LWA/MDBC Project UMO43: Risk-based Approaches to Managing Contaminants in Catchments.
Chee, Y.E., Webb, A., Cottingham, P. and Stewardson, M. (2006) Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Evaluation Program: Monitoring and Evaluation of Environmental Flow Releases in the Loddon River. Report to North Central Catchment Management Authority and Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria. eWater Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra.
(and seven other reports covering the Campaspe, Broken, Goulburn, Thomson, Macalister, Wimmera and Glenelg Rivers).
Workshop on Spatial Management Model for Murray-Darling Basin Fish Populations. 13-14 March 2007, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Victoria.
Invited seminar at Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Aquatic Ecosystem Health, Natural Resources Science Unit Scientific Retreat. March 2006, University of Queensland, Marine Field Station, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.
Date Created: 13 December 2006