Scientific article

Adapting environmental management to uncertain but inevitable change

Published inProceedings - Royal Society. Biological Sciences, vol. 282, no. 1808, 20142984
Publication date2015-06-07
First online date2015-06-07

Implementation of adaptation actions to protect biodiversity is limited by uncertainty about the future. One reason for this is the fear of making the wrong decisions caused by the myriad future scenarios presented to decision-makers. We propose an adaptive management (AM) method for optimally managing a population under uncertain and changing habitat conditions. Our approach incorporates multiple future scenarios and continually learns the best management strategy from observations, even as conditions change. We demonstrate the performance of our AM approach by applying it to the spatial management of migratory shorebird habitats on the East Asian–Australasian flyway, predicted to be severely impacted by future sea-level rise. By accounting for non-stationary dynamics, our solution protects 25 000 more birds per year than the current best stationary approach. Our approach can be applied to many ecological systems that require efficient adaptation strategies for an uncertain future.

  • East Asian–Australasian flyway
  • Markov decision process
  • Adaptation
  • Adaptive management
  • Climate change
  • Migratory birds
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
NICOL, Sam et al. Adapting environmental management to uncertain but inevitable change. In: Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological Sciences, 2015, vol. 282, n° 1808, p. 20142984. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2984
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0962-8452

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