Multi-species Management Using Modeling and Decision Theory Applications to Integrated Natural Resources Management Planning
NAVAL FACILITIES ENGINEERING COMMAND SAN DIEGO CA
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Advances in computing power and software development have made it feasible to incorporate complicated modeling endeavors in routine natural resources management planning. In this report we review the theory and application of models and decision theory and make recommendations for their use in the context of the Department of Defense DoD. Modelbased risk assessments are powerful decision tools. This is not to say that models will make hard decisions easy or replace management. They require ecological expertise to develop and interpret, and should be applied within a formal decision framework. What models can do is to clarify risks and trade-offs among choices and inform data collection. A formal approach allows for the explicit statement of assumptions, assures logical consistencies, and allows for the incorporation of methods to deal with uncertainties or knowledge gaps in calculations. Models have been used to assess impacts of known stressors, evaluate management options, and focus future data collection on the most important data gaps Akcakaya 2000. To be most effective models must be updated as part of an adaptive management program. As information is obtained it can be fed back into the models and used to evaluate existing management strategies or develop new ones. Lastly, modeling as a decision making tool has multiple potential applications to natural resources management and planning within the DoD including impact analyses required by the National Environmental Policy Act NEPA establishing management goals and objectives within the installations Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan generation of an ecosystem health metric for evaluating the efficacy of management programs and helping to convey DoDs natural resources management accomplishments to the public.
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