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Conservation and Sustainable UseA Handbook of Techniques$
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E.J. Milner-Gulland and J. Marcus Rowcliffe

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198530367

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198530367.001.0001

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Developing predictive models

Developing predictive models

(p.155) 5 Developing predictive models
Conservation and Sustainable Use

E. J. Milner-Gulland

Marcus Rowcliffe

Oxford University Press

The effective management of natural resources use requires a mechanistic understanding of the system, not just correlations between variables of the kind discussed in Chapter 4. Understanding may simply be in the form of a conceptual model, but is much more powerful when formalized as a mathematical model. This chapter introduces methods for building a model of the system that can be used to predict future sustainability with or without management interventions. The emphasis is on the simulation of biological and bioeconomic dynamics, for which step-by-step worked examples are given. These examples start with conceptual models, then show how to formalize these as mathematical equations, build these into computer code; test model sensitivity, validity, and alternative structures; and finally, explore future scenarios. Methods for modelling stochasticity and human behaviour are also introduced, as well as the use of Bayesian methods for understanding dynamic systems and exploring management interventions.

Keywords:   mathematical models, conceptual models, simulation, management intervention, sensitivity analysis, model validation, scenario exploration, stochasticity, Bayesian models

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