Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Therese M. Donovan
This research spans a variety of research topics with a common theme, providing decision support through the development and analysis of methods that assist decision making for natural resource and wildlife management. I used components of structured decision making and decision analysis to address natural resources management problems, specifically monitoring and estimating the status of harvested populations, as well as data collection decisions for landscape conservation.
My results have implications for the way populations are monitored and their status is estimated. I find that the inclusion of error in data collection can have a substantial impact of the performance of abundance and growth rate estimates of harvested species and that the selection of estimation methods depends on what management objectives are most important. For example, the Sex-Age-Kill population estimation method best estimates the size of populations, while the Downing population reconstruction method better estimates trends in population growth rates. I provide a framework to support selection of the best estimation method while considering a monitoring program as a whole. Based on this framework the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will obtain the most benefits from a monitoring program including necropsy analysis that uses the Downing method to track population status. Finally, I demonstrated the use of value of information analysis as a tool to determine the relative expected benefits of addition spatial data collection for use in landscape mapping and conservation. This type of analysis can provide conservation agencies with a planning tool to direct budgets and mapping efforts.
Number of Pages
Cummings, Jonathan, "Decision Support for Natural Resource Management" (2014). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 290.