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Comparing predictions of extinction risk using models and subjective judgement

McCarthy, M. A., Keith, D., Tietjen, J., Burgman, M. A., Maunder, M., Master, L., Brook, Barry W., Mace, G., Possingham, H. P., Medellin, R., Andelman, S. J., Regan, H., Regan, T. and Ruckelshaus, M. (2004). Comparing predictions of extinction risk using models and subjective judgement. Acta Oecologia,26(2):67-74.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Comparing predictions of extinction risk using models and subjective judgement
Author McCarthy, M. A.
Keith, D.
Tietjen, J.
Burgman, M. A.
Maunder, M.
Master, L.
Brook, Barry W.
Mace, G.
Possingham, H. P.
Medellin, R.
Andelman, S. J.
Regan, H.
Regan, T.
Ruckelshaus, M.
Journal Name Acta Oecologia
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 26
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1146-609X   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-4644231970
Start Page 67
End Page 74
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication Paris, France
Publisher Elsevier
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Models of population dynamics are commonly used to predict risks in ecology, particularly risks of population decline. There is often considerable uncertainty associated with these predictions. However, alternatives to predictions based on population models have not been assessed. We used simulation models of hypothetical species to generate the kinds of data that might typically be available to ecologists and then invited other researchers to predict risks of population declines using these data. The accuracy of the predictions was assessed by comparison with the forecasts of the original model. The researchers used either population models or subjective judgement to make their predictions. Predictions made using models were only slightly more accurate than subjective judgements of risk. However, predictions using models tended to be unbiased, while subjective judgements were biased towards over-estimation. Psychology literature suggests that the bias of subjective judgements is likely to vary somewhat unpredictably among people, depending on their stake in the outcome. This will make subjective predictions more uncertain and less transparent than those based on models. (C) 2004 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Keywords extinction
population dynamics
population viability analysis
risk assessment
subjective judgement
population viability analysis
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