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Developing a rabbit management expert system - VC0220

The key objective of the research is to develop a rabbit management expert system composed of two main modules: the first would enable MAFF advisers to undertake a reliable assessment of the costs of rabbit grazing; the second would enable them to determine when and how to conduct control to obtain the most cost-effective results. Research to quantify and predict the costs of rabbit grazing is of fundamental importance to Policy Divisions as the economics of any pest problem should be one of the major factors to consider when deciding upon policy or research strategies and when considering the need for legislation such as the 1947 Agriculture Act or the 1954 Pests Act. Research to develop methods of rabbit control enables MAFF to meet its obligation under the 1954 Pest Act of ensuring that suitable methods of control are available. The use of computer models can be used to evaluate the available methods of rabbit control and determine their optimal timing for specific situations.
1. To produce yield loss models to calculate the losses caused by individual rabbits to spring barley (Finish 31/3/00).

2. To produce yield loss models to calculate the losses caused by individual rabbits to grass (Finish 31/3/00).

3. To validate our ability to predict the amount of damage which rabbits can cause by comparing models of population yield losses with models of individual yield losses to winter wheat (Finish 31/3/02).

4. To investigate patterns of crop damage as a component of individual foraging behaviour (Finish 31/3/02).

5. To collate data on rabbit control and damage to crops and incorporate these into the model (Finish 31/03/99).

6. To incorporate additional data on rabbit populations into the model (Finish 31.3.02).

7. To test the expert system in the field (Finish 31/03/02).

8. To test the ‘front-end’ of the expert system with landholders (Finish 31/03/02).
Project Documents
• Final Report : Developing a rabbit management expert system   (2124k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2002

Cost: £578,094
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Pest and Weed Control              
Pest Control              
Plants and Animals              
Wildlife Management              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management