Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Therese M. Donovan


The long-term success of wildlife conservation depends on maximizing the benefits of limited funds and data in pursuit of population and habitat objectives. The ultimate currency for wildlife management is progress toward long-term preservation of ample, wild, free wildlife populations and to this end, funds must be wisely spent and maximal use made from limited data.

Through simulation-based analyses, I evaluated the efficacy of various models for estimating population abundance from harvest data. Because managers have different estimators to choose from and can also elect to collect additional data, I compared the statistical performance of different estimation strategies (estimator + dataset) relative to the financial cost of data collection. I also performed a value of information analysis to measure the impact that different strategies have on a representative harvest management decision. The latter analysis is not based on the cost of data, but rather on the management benefit derived from basing decisions on different datasets.

Finally, I developed a hybrid modeling framework for mapping habitat quality or suitability. This framework makes efficient use of expert opinion and empirical validation data in a single, updatable statistical structure. I illustrate this method by applying it across an entire state.



Number of Pages

187 p.