Reconciling Uncertain Costs and Benefits in Bayes Nets for Invasive Species Management

Authors

  • M. A. Burgman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia.
      *Address correspondence to M. A. Burgman, Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia; markab@unimelb.edu.au.
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  • B. A. Wintle,

    1. Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia.
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  • C. A. Thompson,

    1. Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia.
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  • A. Moilanen,

    1. Metapopulation Research Group, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 65, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.
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  • M. C. Runge,

    1. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708, USA.
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  • Yakov Ben-Haim

    1. Yitzhak Moda’i Chair in Technology and Economics, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000 Israel.
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*Address correspondence to M. A. Burgman, Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia; markab@unimelb.edu.au.

Abstract

Bayes nets are used increasingly to characterize environmental systems and formalize probabilistic reasoning to support decision making. These networks treat probabilities as exact quantities. Sensitivity analysis can be used to evaluate the importance of assumptions and parameter estimates. Here, we outline an application of info-gap theory to Bayes nets that evaluates the sensitivity of decisions to possibly large errors in the underlying probability estimates and utilities. We apply it to an example of management and eradication of Red Imported Fire Ants in Southern Queensland, Australia and show how changes in management decisions can be justified when uncertainty is considered.

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