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Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology

Brook, Barry W., O'Grady, Julian J., Chapman, Andrew P., Burgman, Mark A., Akçakaya, H. Resit and Frankham, Richard (2000). Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology. Nature,404:385-387.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology
Author Brook, Barry W.
O'Grady, Julian J.
Chapman, Andrew P.
Burgman, Mark A.
Akçakaya, H. Resit
Frankham, Richard
Journal Name Nature
Publication Date 2000
Volume Number 404
ISSN 0028-0836   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0034704928
Start Page 385
End Page 387
Total Pages 3
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Abstract Population viability analysis (PVA) is widely applied in conservation biology to predict extinction risks for threatened species and to compare alternative options for their mangement1, 2, 3, 4. It can also be used as a basis for listing species as endangered under World Conservation Union criteria5. However, there is considerable scepticism regarding the predictive accuracy of PVA, mainly because of a lack of validation in real systems2, 6, 7, 8. Here we conducted a retrospective test of PVA based on 21 long-term ecological studies—the first comprehensive and replicated evaluation of the predictive powers of PVA. Parameters were estimated from the first half of each data set and the second half was used to evaluate the performance of the model. Contrary to recent criticisms, we found that PVA predictions were surprisingly accurate. The risk of population decline closely matched observed outcomes, there was no significant bias, and population size projections did not differ significantly from reality. Furthermore, the predictions of the five PVA software packages were highly concordant. We conclude that PVA is a valid and sufficiently accurate tool for categorizing and managing endangered species.
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 19:52:48 CST by Anthony Hornby