Using Decision Analysis to Manage Endangered Species 1
This chapter discusses how decision making under uncertainty may be used to integrate ecological theory, objective data, subjective judgments and financial concerns in the management of endangered species populations. It considers the two major components of a decision analysis: First, the development of probabilistic models relating the outcomes of alternative actions to random events in the environment, and Second the assessment of values reflecting preferences for different outcomes according to one or more decision criteria. The decision to remove animals from wild populations to begin or augment captive breeding is one that almost always sparks debate. It has been the source of repeated controversy in California condor management. Decision analysis provides a framework for explicitly including uncertainty about the possible outcomes of a management decision. Decision analysis permits use of value judgments in assigning merit to possible outcomes of a decision, as in assigning a value to survival only in captivity in the captive propagation example.