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Ecol Appl. 2006 Oct;16(5):1959-66.

Integrating economic costs into the analysis of flexible conservation management strategies.

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Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig, Germany.


Flexible conservation management, where measures (e.g., mowing of meadows, removing invasive species) are selected in each decision period depending on the current state of the ecological system, is generally perceived as superior to fixed management, where the same measure is applied in each decision period independent of the current state of the system. In past comparisons of fixed and flexible conservation strategies the additional costs that arise only in flexible strategies have usually been ignored. In this paper, we present a framework to integrate costs of flexible management into the evaluation of flexible conservation strategies. Using the example of an endangered butterfly species we demonstrate that the costs of flexible management may reverse the rank order of flexible and fixed conservation strategies, such that fixed strategies may lead to better ecological results than flexible ones for the same financial budget.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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