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The sensitivity of population viability analysis to uncertainty about habitat requirements: implications for the management of the endangered southern brown bandicoot

Citation

Southwell, DM and Lechner, AM and Coates, T and Wintle, BA, The sensitivity of population viability analysis to uncertainty about habitat requirements: implications for the management of the endangered southern brown bandicoot, Conservation Biology, 22, (4) pp. 1045-1054. ISSN 0888-8892 (2008) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2008 Society for Conservation Biology

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00934.x

Abstract

Whenever population viability analysis (PVA) models are built to help guide decisions about the management of rare and threatened species, an important component of model building is the specification of a habitat model describing how a species is related to landscape or bioclimatic variables. Model-selection uncertainty may arise because there is often a great deal of ambiguity about which habitat model structure best approximates the true underlying biological processes. The standard approach to incorporate habitat models into PVA is to assume the best habitat model is correct, ignoring habitat-model uncertainty and alternative model structures that may lead to quantitatively different conclusions and management recommendations. Here we provide the first detailed examination of the influence of habitat-model uncertainty on the ranking of management scenarios from a PVA model. We evaluated and ranked 6 management scenarios for the endangered southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) with PVA models, each derived from plausible competing habitat models developed with logistic regression. The ranking of management scenarios was sensitive to the choice of the habitat model used in PVA predictions. Our results demonstrate the need to incorporate methods into PVA that better account for model uncertainty and highlight the sensitivity of PVA to decisions made during model building. We recommend that researchers search for and consider a range of habitat models when undertaking model-based decision making and suggest that routine sensitivity analyses should be expanded to include an analysis of the impact of habitat-model uncertainty and assumptions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:decision-theoretic approach, dynamic landscape metapopulation modeling, habitat modeling, Isoodon obesulus, logistic regression, model uncertainty, population viability analysis, sensitivity analysis, southern brown bandicoot
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental Science and Management
Research Field:Wildlife and Habitat Management
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Author:Lechner, AM (Dr Alex Lechner)
ID Code:95619
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Centre for Environment
Deposited On:2014-10-06
Last Modified:2014-11-06
Downloads:0

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