The clock is ticking: temporally prioritizing eradications on islands

Zachary T. Carter* (Corresponding Author), Thomas Lumley, Thomas Bodey, James C. Russell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Achieving conservation objectives is time-critical, but the vast number of threats and potential actions means some form of ranking is necessary to aid prioritization. Objective methods for ranking conservation actions based on when they are differentially likely to become feasible, or to succeed, are currently unavailable within existing decision-making frameworks but are critical for making informed management decisions. We demonstrate how statistical tools developed for survival (or time-to-event) analysis can be used to rank conservation actions over time, through the lens of invasive mammal eradications on islands. Here, we forecast the probability of eradicating commensal rat species (Rattus rattus, R. norvegicus, R. exulans) from the New Zealand archipelago by the government’s stated target of year 2050. Our methods provide temporally ranked eradication trajectories for the entire country, thus facilitating meeting nationwide policy goals. This demonstration highlights the relevance and applicability of such an approach and its utility for prioritizing globally effective conservation actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1456
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number7
Early online date24 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding was awarded to Z.T.C. by the New Zealand Government through a New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship. Funding was awarded to T.W.B. by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship (Grant No. 747120). Funding was awarded to J.C.R. by the Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship (Grant No. RDF-UOA1404) and the BioHeritage National Science Challenge (Grant No. 1617-44-003).

Additional supporting information may be found in the supplementary material of this article. The associated code and dataset are archived and are publicly available at the University of Auckland figshare database ( and at GitHub (‐island‐prioritization).


  • Conservation decision-making
  • eradication
  • invasive species
  • islands
  • prioritization
  • survival analysis
  • rattus
  • conservation decision-making


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