Robust decision-making under severe uncertainty for conservation management

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In-conservation biology it is necessary to make management decisions for endangered and threatened species under severe uncertainty. Failure to acknowledge and treat uncertainty can lead to poor decisions. To illustrate the importance of considering uncertainty, we reanalyze a decision problem for the Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, using information-gap theory to propagate uncertainties and to rank management options. Rather than requiring information about the extent of parameter uncertainty at the outset, information-gap theory addresses the question of how much uncertainty can be tolerated before our decision would change. It assesses the robustness of decisions in the face of severe uncertainty. We show that different management decisions may result when uncertainty in utilities and probabilities are considered in decision-making problems. We highlight the importance of a full assessment of uncertainty in conservation management decisions to avoid, as much as possible, undesirable outcomes.


  • H M Regan
  • Y Ben-Haim
  • B Langford
  • W G Wilson
  • Per Lundberg
  • S J Andelman
  • M A Burgman
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1477
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch

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