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A three-pipe problem: Dealing with complexity to halt amphibian declines

May 26, 2019

Natural resource managers are increasingly faced with threats to managed ecosystems that are largely outside of their control. Examples include land development, climate change, invasive species, and emerging infectious diseases. All of these are characterized by large uncertainties in timing, magnitude, and effects on species. In many cases, the conservation of species will only be possible through concerted action on the limited elements of the system that managers can control. However, before an action is taken, a manager must decide how to act, which is, if done well, not easy. In addition to dealing with uncertainty, managers must balance multiple potentially competing objectives, often in cases when the management actions available to them are limited. Guidance in making these types of challenging decisions can be found in the practice known as decision analysis. We demonstrate how using a decision-analytic approach to frame decisions can help identify and address impediments to improved conservation decision making. We demonstrate the application of decision analysis to two high-elevation amphibian species. An inadequate focus on the decision-making process, and an assumption that scientific information is adequate to solve conservation problems, must be overcome to advance the conservation of amphibians and other highly threatened taxa.

    Publication Year 2019
    Title A three-pipe problem: Dealing with complexity to halt amphibian declines
    DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.024
    Authors Sarah J. Converse, Evan H. Campbell Grant
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title Biological Conservation
    Index ID 70215405
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle; Patuxent Wildlife Research Center