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Keywords:

  • environmental assessment;
  • impact;
  • stochastic models;
  • population growth;
  • quasiextinction;
  • environmental fluctuations;
  • first-passage

A probabilistic language based on stochastic models of population growth is proposed for a standard language to be used in environmental assessment. Environmental impact on a population is measured by the probability of quasiextinction. Density-dependent and independent models are discussed. A review of one-dimensional stochastic population growth models, the implications of environmental autocorrelation, finite versus “infinite” time results, age-structured models, and Monte Carlo simulations are included. The finite time probability of quasiextinction is presented for the logistic model. The sensitivity of the result with respect to the mean growth rate and the amplitude of environmental fluctuations are examined. Stochastic models of population growth form a basis for formulating reasonable criteria for environmental impact estimates.