Fred Johnson, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, 2010
M.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Science, Texas A&M University, 1981
B.S., Wildlife Resources (Magna Cum Laude), West Virginia University, 1978
Fred Johnson's principal interest is in the application of decision science to problems in natural resource management. Such applications require a multi-disciplinary approach to engage stakeholders in the decision-making process, to predict the responses of ecological systems to controlled and uncontrolled drivers, to elicit societal values regarding the consequences of management policy, and to develop monitoring programs to compare predicted and realized system behaviors. Johnson is particularly active in migratory bird management, with experience in problems of recreational and subsistence harvest, pest control, and habitat management. His scientific expertise is mostly in the areas of population ecology, statistical inference, dynamic systems modeling, and optimal decision making.
1989 – 2007: Wildlife Biologist (Management), Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Laurel, Maryland - responsible for evaluating, designing, and conducting resource monitoring and assessment programs to improve conservation programs; functioned as an agency representative on technical matters at state, national, and international meetings and conferences where migratory bird management and research were planned, coordinated, and reviewed.
1981-1989: Waterfowl Management Program Coordinator, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Okeechobee, Florida - responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing waterfowl conservation activities for the State of Florida.
Science and Products
Pink-footed geese in Svalbard are a highly valued resource, but their increasing population causes conflicts with agricultural needs. USGS is devloping population models to help inform management of optimal harvest strategies.
A Structured Decision-Making Framework for Controlling, Monitoring, and Containment of Invasive Species through Trapping: An Application to the Argentine Black and White Tegu
USGS is applying decision analysis to identify cost-effective methods for controlling invasive species like the Argentine black and white tegu.
National Wildlife Refuges provide habitat for important fish and wildlife species and services that benefit coastal communities, like storm-surge protection. USGS scientists are helping coastal refuges plan for and adapt to sea-level rise.
Melaleuca is an invasive tree that is highly problematic in the Everglades, threatening native wildlife and habitat. USGS is helping to improve management strategies for the invasive plant.
Manatees are tropical to subtropical in distribution and, with few exceptions, Florida is the northern limit of their natural winter range. The availability of warm-water habitat during winter is critical for the future persistence of the population in Florida.
As custodians of ecological goods and services valued by society, coastal National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) have an especially important role to play in helping socio-ecological systems adapt to global-change processes.
The establishment and proliferation of exotic plants and animals can interfere with native ecological processes and can cause severe stress to sensitive ecosystems.
The goal of this project is to educate resource professionals in the tools and techniques of structured decision making and adaptive management.
The 2011 (Draft) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Migratory Bird Hunting (EIS) offers four alternatives concerning the timing of the regulatory process for setting waterfowl hunting seasons. The no-change alternative involves a process by which most proposals for hunting seasons are developed in response to survey information that becomes available in early summer, such as...
Based on field research conducted during 2002-2009, the bobwhite population on the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Southwest Florida is incapable of supporting desired levels of sport harvest.
Making do with less: Must sparse data preclude informed harvest strategies for European waterbirds?
The demography of many European waterbirds is not well understood because most countries have conducted little monitoring and assessment, and coordination among countries on waterbird management has little precedent. Yet intergovernmental treaties now mandate the use of sustainable, adaptive harvest strategies, whose development is challenged by a...Johnson, Fred A.; Alhainen, Mikko; Fox, Anthony D.; Madsen, Jesper; Guillemain, Matthieu
Frequencies of decision making and monitoring in adaptive resource management
Adaptive management involves learning-oriented decision making in the presence of uncertainty about the responses of a resource system to management. It is implemented through an iterative sequence of decision making, monitoring and assessment of system responses, and incorporating what is learned into future decision making. Decision making at...Williams, Byron K.; Johnson, Fred A.
Evaluation of harvest and information needs for North American sea ducks
Wildlife managers routinely seek to establish sustainable limits of sport harvest or other regulated forms of take while confronted with considerable uncertainty. A growing body of ecological research focuses on methods to describe and account for uncertainty in management decision-making and to prioritize research and monitoring investments to...Koneff, Mark D.; Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Dwyer, Chris P.; Fleming, Kathleen K.; Padding, Paul I.; Devers, Patrick K.; Johnson, Fred A.; Runge, Michael C.; Roberts, Anthony J.
Implementation of the first adaptive management plan for a European migratory waterbird population: The case of the Svalbard pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus
An International Species Management Plan for the Svalbard population of the pink-footed goose was adopted under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds in 2012, the first case of adaptive management of a migratory waterbird population in Europe. An international working group (including statutory agencies, NGO...Madsen, Jesper; Williams, James Henty; Johnson, Fred A.; Tombre, Ingunn M.; Dereliev, Sergey; Kuijken, Eckhart
Expert elicitation, uncertainty, and the value of information in controlling invasive species
We illustrate the utility of expert elicitation, explicit recognition of uncertainty, and the value of information for directing management and research efforts for invasive species, using tegu lizards (Salvator merianae) in southern Florida as a case study. We posited a post-birth pulse, matrix model in which four age classes of tegus are...Johnson, Fred A.; Smith, Brian J.; Bonneau, Mathieu; Martin, Julien; Romagosa, Christina; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Reed, Robert; Eckles, Jennifer Kettevrlin; Vitt, Laurie J.
Structured decision making as a conservation tool for recovery planning of two endangered salamanders
At least one-third of all amphibian species face the threat of extinction, and current amphibian extinction rates are four orders of magnitude greater than background rates. Preventing extirpation often requires both ex situ (i.e., conservation breeding programs) and in situ strategies (i.e., protecting natural habitats). Flatwoods salamanders (...O'Donnell, Katherine; Messerman, Arianne F; Barichivich, William J.; Semlitsch, Raymond D.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Mitchell, Harold G; Allan, Nathan; Fenolio, Dante B.; Green, Adam; Johnson, Fred A.; Keever, Allison; Mandica, Mark; Martin, Julien; Mott, Jana; Peacock, Terry; Reinman, Joseph; Romañach, Stephanie; Titus, Greg; McGowan, Conor P.; Walls, Susan C.
Expert opinions of demographic rates of Argentine black and white tegus in South Florida
We illustrate the utility of expert elicitation, explicit recognition of uncertainty, and the value of information for directing management and research efforts for invasive species, using tegu lizards (Salvator merianae) in southern Florida as a case study. We posited a post-birth pulse, matrix model, which was parameterized using a 3-point...Johnson, Fred A.
Development of an adaptive harvest management program for Taiga bean geese
This report describes recent progress in specifying the elements of an adaptive harvest program for taiga bean goose. It describes harvest levels appropriate for first rebuilding the population of the Central Management Unit and then maintaining it near the goal specified in the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP). This report...Johnson, Fred A.; Alhainen, Mikko; Fox, Anthony D.; Madsen, Jesper
Application of decision science to resilience management in Jamaica Bay
This book highlights the growing interest in management interventions designed to enhance the resilience of the Jamaica Bay socio-ecological system. Effective management, whether the focus is on managing biological processes or human behavior or (most likely) both, requires decision makers to anticipate how the managed system will respond to...Sanderson, E.W.; Solecki, W. D.; Waldman, J.R.; Paris, A. S.; Eaton, Mitchell; Fuller, Angela K.; Johnson, Fred A.; Hare, M. P.; Stedman, Richard C.
Learning and adaptation in waterfowl conservation: By chance or by design?
The most recent revision of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan seeks to increase the adaptive capacity of the management enterprise to cope with accelerating changes in climate, land-use patterns, agency priorities, and the waterfowl and wetlands constituency. Institutional and cultural changes of the magnitude envisioned are necessarily...Johnson, Fred A.; Case, David J.; Humburg, Dale H.
Regulation of the hunting season as a tool for adaptive harvest management — First results for pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus
Adjustment of hunting season length is often used to regulate harvest of waterbirds but the effects are disputed. We describe the first results of season length extension on the harvest of the pink-footed goose, which has been selected as the first test case of adaptive harvest management of waterbirds in Europe. In Denmark, the season (previously...Madsen, Jesper; Clausen, Kevin K.; Christensen, Thomas K.; Johnson, Fred A.
State-dependent resource harvesting with lagged information about system states
Markov decision processes (MDPs), which involve a temporal sequence of actions conditioned on the state of the managed system, are increasingly being applied in natural resource management. This study focuses on the modification of a traditional MDP to account for those cases in which an action must be chosen after a significant time lag in...Johnson, Fred A.; Fackler, Paul L.; Boomer, G Scott; Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Williams, Byron K.; Nichols, James D.; Dorazio, Robert