Journal article

Optimal Allocation of Conservation Resources to Species That May be Extinct

Tracy M Rout, Dean Heinze, Michael A McCarthy



Statements of extinction will always be uncertain because of imperfect detection of species in the wild. Two errors can be made when declaring a species extinct. Extinction can be declared prematurely, with a resulting loss of protection and management intervention. Alternatively, limited conservation resources can be wasted attempting to protect a species that no longer exists. Rather than setting an arbitrary level of certainty at which to declare extinction, we argue that the decision must trade off the expected costs of both errors. Optimal decisions depend on the cost of continued intervention, the probability the species is extant, and the estimated value of management (the benefit of ..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank M. Burgman, M. Rivadeneira, E.J. Milner-Gulland, and two anonymous reviewers for comments that improved this manuscript and L. Perrin and D. Roberts for assistance with data. This work was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award, Applied Environmental Decision Analysis (a hub of the Commonwealth Environmental Research Facility), and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis.