What Can Decision Analysis Do for Invasive Species Management?


*Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Box 90328, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0328, USA; tel: 919-613-8034; fax: 919-684-8741; lmaguire@duke.edu.


Decisions about management of invasive species are difficult for all the reasons typically addressed by multiattribute decision analysis: uncertain outcomes, multiple and conflicting objectives, and many interested parties with differing views on both facts and values. This article illustrates how the tools of multiattribute analysis can improve management of invasive species, with an emphasis on making explicit the social values and preferences that must inform invasive species management. Risk assessment protocols developed previously for invasive species management typically suffer from two interacting flaws: (1) separating risk assessment from risk management, thus disrupting essential connections between the social values at stake in invasive species decisions and the scientific knowledge necessary to predict the likely impacts of management actions, and (2) relying on expert judgment about risk framed in qualitative and value-laden terms, inadvertently mixing the expert's judgment about what is likely to happen with personal preferences. Using the values structuring and probability-modeling elements of formal decision analysis can remedy these difficulties and make invasive species management responsive to both good science and public values. The management of feral pigs in Hawaiian ecosystems illustrates the need for such an integrated approach.