2000_Burgman_Possingham_PVA_good_bad_ugly - Citation...

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Citation: Burgman, M. & Possingham, H. P. 2000 . Population viability analysis for conservation: the good, the bad and the undescribed. Pages 97-112 in: Genetics, Demography and Viability of Fragmented Populations . Eds Young, A.G & Clarke, G.M. Cambridge University Press, London. Population viability analysis for conservation: the good, the bad and the undescribed Mark Burgman 1 and Hugh Possingham 2,3 1 School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052. 2 Department of Environmental Science and Management, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy SA 5371. 3 current address: Departments of Zoology and Mathematics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia. Abstract Population viability analysis is used in a variety of ways to solve conservation problems. These uses are defined in part by data availability and theoretical and biological understanding, and in part by social, regulatory and political context. The use of a PVA in one context does not preclude or invalidate its use in another. In this paper we attempt to discuss objectively the role of PVA in population management and conservation planning. We emphasise its role in organising information, engaging stake-holders, and making decisions. To be successful, some traditional views about population models and decision-making need to be suspended and reviewed. Introduction The use of population models in conservation biology is at a cross-roads. In the 1980’s many believed that population viability analysis (PVA) would provide a comprehensive framework for threatened species management. Early enthusiasm has been tempered by problems with lack of data, lack of validation, and several studies that have demonstrated the sensitivity of results to uncertainty in the data (Taylor 1995, Ruckelshaus et al. 1997). More and more conservation ecologists are expressing disappointment at the inability of PVA to provide verifiable answers, to be impregnable to misinterpretation, or to make the work of an academic conservation ecologist any easier (Doak & Mills 1994, Beissinger & Westphal 1998). Others who view PVA from a more applied perspective and tried to use it to help with environmental legislation, land-use planning and making decisions about the management of populations have also been disappointed (Hamilton & Moller 1995, Harcourt 1995). The role of population modelling in conservation is suffering a backlash from early over-enthusiasm and our unrealistic expectation that PVA would solve all our single species conservation problems. The role of population modelling in conservation
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biology, and in population management in general, requires reassessment (Shea et al. 1998) We begin this paper by characterising the different roles PVA can play, roles that apply fairly generally to the application of population modelling tools in conservation. We move to a discussion of what we think a good PVA should be and do. We end with
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2000_Burgman_Possingham_PVA_good_bad_ugly - Citation...

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