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Bull Math Biol. 2008 Oct;70(7):2039-54. doi: 10.1007/s11538-008-9343-0. Epub 2008 Aug 20.

Optimal dynamic allocation of conservation funding among priority regions.

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  • 1Applied Environmental Decision Analysis Research Facility, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, 3010, Australia. bodem@unimelb.edu.au


The optimal allocation of conservation resources between biodiverse conservation regions has generally been calculated using stochastic dynamic programming, or using myopic heuristics. These solutions are hard to interpret and may not be optimal. To overcome these two limitations, this paper approaches the optimal conservation resource allocation problem using optimal control theory. A solution using Pontryagin's maximum principle provides novel insight into the general properties of efficient conservation resource allocation strategies, and allows more extensive testing of the performance of myopic heuristics. We confirmed that a proposed heuristic (minimize short-term loss) yields near-optimal results in complex allocation situations, and found that a qualitative allocation feature observed in previous analyses (bang-bang allocation) is a general property of the optimal allocation strategy.

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