Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 1051-1058

First online:

The value of information in reserve site selection

  • Stephen PolaskyAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
  • , Andrew R. SolowAffiliated withWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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The reserve site selection problem is to select sites for the establishment of biological reserves with the goal to maximize the number of species contained in the reserves. When species distributions are known, this corresponds to the maximal coverage problem. In practice, knowledge of species distributions may be incomplete and only incidence probabilities are available. In this case, the goal is to maximize the expected number of species contained in the reserves. This is called the maximal expected coverage problem. This paper describes and illustrates a formal approach to assess the value of information, such as site surveys or species surveys, in this problem.

Bayesian decision theory maximal expected coverage problem optimization