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Stochastic dominance to account for uncertainty and risk in conservation decisions

Canessa, S; Ewen, JG; West, M; McCarthy, MA; Walshe, TV; (2016) Stochastic dominance to account for uncertainty and risk in conservation decisions. Conservation Letters , 9 (4) pp. 260-266. 10.1111/conl.12218. Green open access

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Abstract

Practical conservation normally requires making decisions in the face of uncertainty. Our attitude toward that uncertainty, and the risks it entails, shape the way conservation decisions are made. Stochastic dominance (SD), a method more commonly used in economics, can be used to rank alternative conservation actions by comparing the probability distributions of their outcomes, making progressive simplified assumptions about the preferences of decision makers. Here, we illustrate the application of SD to conservation decisions using the recovery plan for an endangered frog species in Australia as a case study. Stochastic dominance is simple and intuitively appealing for conservation decisions; its broader application may encourage conservation decision makers to consider probabilistic uncertainty in light of their preferences, which may otherwise be difficult to recognize and assess transparently. A better treatment of attitudes towards uncertainty and risk may help ensure rational decision making in conservation and remove potential causes of stakeholder conflict.

Type: Article
Title: Stochastic dominance to account for uncertainty and risk in conservation decisions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/conl.12218
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12218
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Cumulative distribution function, elicitation, management objectives, risk assessment, threatened species, translocation, triage, uncertainty, utility
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473288
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