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Problem Solving and Decision-Making in Project Management of Problematic Wildlife: A Review of Some Approaches and Conceptual Tools

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Abstract

When managing problem wildlife, we need to make decisions aimed to solve crises among factors of pressure (e.g. exotic species or communities), impacted targets (populations, communities, ecosystems, processes) and political and social pressures. These crises happen in multi-complex organizational, socio-ecological systems, often characterized from high uncertainty. Now, a large number of interdisciplinary conceptual tools, criteria and approaches, belonging to the problem-solving and decision-making arenas, is now available for practitioners and managers that work on conservation projects. In this review, we selected some of the more recent tools and approaches including them in a single project framework (the IUCN cycle used for nature reserve planning), spanning all from the analysis of the context (both in project teams and in real world), to the planning stage until the monitoring phase. We encourage practitioners to use these innovative tools and approaches in their projects that are focused on problematic wildlife.

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Conservation, harvesting and pest control are three aspects of the same general problem: population management. All three involve intervention with the aim of regulating population size and growth in some way, yet the dissociation of these disciplines is pervasive. Recent developments and a comparison of approaches show the potential of a synthetic paradigm.
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{textlessptextgreatertextless}br/textgreaterUnsustainable tendencies in the co-evolution of human and natural systems have stimulated a search for new approaches to understanding complex problems of environment and development. Recently, attention has been drawn to the emergence of a new "sustainability science", and core questions and research strategies have been proposed. A key challenge of sustainability is to examine the range of plausible future pathways of combined social and environmental systems under conditions of uncertainty, surprise, human choice and complexity. This requires charting new scientific territory and expanding the current global change research agenda. Scenario analysis--including new participatory and problem-oriented approaches--provides a powerful tool for integrating knowledge, scanning the future in an organized way and internalizing human choice into sustainability science.textless/ptextgreater
Article
The recognition that a system can appear resilient to changes in the environment, only to reach a critical threshold of rapid and unexpected change, is spurring work to apply threshold models in conservation and restoration. Here we address the relevance of threshold models to habitat management. Work to date indicates these concepts are highly applicable: human impacts can widen the range of habitats where threshold dynamics occur and shift communities into new states that are difficult to reverse. However, in many applied settings, threshold concepts are being adopted without evaluation of evidence and uncertainty. We suggest a framework for incorporating threshold models that reflects an emphasis on applicability to decision making and management on relatively short timescales and in human-impacted systems.
Article
In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups--and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity--not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities. The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory. He examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems, and along the way offers fascinating and surprising examples, from the redesign of the Chicago "El" to the truth about where we store our ketchup. Page changes the way we understand diversity--how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.
Article
Conservation efforts and emergency medicine face comparable problems: how to use scarce resources wisely to conserve valuable assets. In both fields, the process of prioritising actions is known as triage. Although often used implicitly by conservation managers, scientists and policymakers, triage has been misinterpreted as the process of simply deciding which assets (e.g. species, habitats) will not receive investment. As a consequence, triage is sometimes associated with a defeatist conservation ethic. However, triage is no more than the efficient allocation of conservation resources and we risk wasting scarce resources if we do not follow its basic principles.
Article
We introduce a general framework for modeling functionally diverse problem-solving agents. In this framework, problem-solving agents possess representations of problems and algorithms that they use to locate solutions. We use this framework to establish a result relevant to group composition. We find that when selecting a problem-solving team from a diverse population of intelligent agents, a team of randomly selected agents outperforms a team comprised of the best-performing agents. This result relies on the intuition that, as the initial pool of problem solvers becomes large, the best-performing agents necessarily become similar in the space of problem solvers. Their relatively greater ability is more than offset by their lack of problem-solving diversity.
Article
An essential foundation of any science is a standard lexicon. Any given conservation project can be described in terms of the biodiversity targets, direct threats, contributing factors at the project site, and the conservation actions that the project team is employing to change the situation. These common elements can be linked in a causal chain, which represents a theory of change about how the conservation actions are intended to bring about desired project outcomes. If project teams want to describe and share their work and learn from one another, they need a standard and precise lexicon to specifically describe each node along this chain. To date, there have been several independent efforts to develop standard classifications for the direct threats that affect biodiversity and the conservation actions required to counteract these threats. Recognizing that it is far more effective to have only one accepted global scheme, we merged these separate efforts into unified classifications of threats and actions, which we present here. Each classification is a hierarchical listing of terms and associated definitions. The classifications are comprehensive and exclusive at the upper levels of the hierarchy, expandable at the lower levels, and simple, consistent, and scalable at all levels. We tested these classifications by applying them post hoc to 1191 threatened bird species and 737 conservation projects. Almost all threats and actions could be assigned to the new classification systems, save for some cases lacking detailed information. Furthermore, the new classification systems provided an improved way of analyzing and comparing information across projects when compared with earlier systems. We believe that widespread adoption of these classifications will help practitioners more systematically identify threats and appropriate actions, managers to more efficiently set priorities and allocate resources, and most important, facilitate cross-project learning and the development of a systematic science of conservation. Resumen: Un fundamento esencial de cualquier ciencia es un lexicón estándar. Cualquier proyecto de conservación puede ser descrito en términos de los objetivos de biodiversidad, directas amenazas, factores subyacentes en el sitio del proyecto y las acciones de conservación que el equipo está empleando para cambiar la situación. Estos elementos comunes se pueden eslabonar en una cadena causal, que representa una teoría de cambio de cómo las acciones de conservación alcanzarán los resultados deseados. Si los equipos de los proyectos quieren describir y compartir su trabajo y aprender uno de otro, se requiere un lexicón estándar y preciso para describir específicamente cada nodo a lo largo de esta cadena. A la fecha, ha habido varios esfuerzos independientes para desarrollar clasificaciones estándar para las amenazas directas que afectan la biodiversidad y las acciones de conservación requeridas para contrarrestar estas amenazas. Reconociendo que es mucho más efectivo tener solo un esquema global aceptado, combinamos estos esfuerzos separados en clasificaciones unificadas de amenazas y acciones, que presentamos aquí. Cada clasificación es un listado jerárquico de términos y definiciones asociadas. Las clasificaciones son integrales y exclusivas de los niveles superiores de la jerarquía, expandibles en los niveles inferiores y simples, consistentes y escalables en todos los niveles. Probamos estas clasificaciones aplicándolas post hoc a 1191 especies amenazadas de aves y 737 proyectos de conservación. Casi todas las amenazas y acciones podrían ser asignadas a los nuevos sistemas de clasificación, salvo algunos casos que carecen de información detallada. Más aun, los nuevos sistemas de clasificación proporcionaron una mejor manera de analizar y comparar información en proyectos cuando son comparados con sistemas previos. Consideramos que la adopción generalizada de estas clasificaciones ayudará que practicantes identifiquen amenazas y acciones apropiadas más sistemáticamente, manejadores definan prioridades y asignen recursos más eficientemente y, más importante, facilitar el aprendizaje y el desarrollo de una ciencia de la conservación sistemática.
Prosjektledelse under usikkerhet
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Conventions for defi ning, naming, measuring, combining, and mapping threats in conservation. An initial proposal for a standard system
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BACI design. Ecological statistics
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