Canadian Forest Service Publications

Quantifying uncertainty in pest risk maps and assessments: adopting a risk-averse decision-maker's perspective. 2013. Yemshanov, D.; Koch, F.; Ducey, M.; Haack, R.; Siltanen, M.; Wilson, K. NeoBiota 18:193-218.

Year: 2013

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34806

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3897/neobiota.18.(2013)

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Abstract

Pest risk maps can help forest managers develop strategies to reduce the number of introductions of invasive organisms. When possible management responses to an invader include costly or socially sensitive activities, decision-makers tend to be risk-averse. We present a new mapping technique that assesses pest invasion risk from the perspective of a risk-averse decision-maker. We demonstrate the approach by evaluating the likelihood that an invasive forest pest will be moved to a Canadian province or U.S. state in infested firewood by campers. We tested the impact of the risk aversion assumption by using several plausible pest arrival scenarios generated by a geographically explicit model developed from data about camper travel. We prioritized regions of high and low pest arrival with two modeling techniques, one of which incorporated the notion of risk aversion. We identified regions where the pest risk value changed considerably after incorporating risk aversion. While both methods identified similar areas of highest and lowest risk, they differed in how they defined moderate-risk areas. In general, the second method assigned lower risk rankings to moderate-risk areas. Our approach offers a better strategy to deal with the uncertainty associated with risk assessments and provides a manageable way to incorporate decision-making preferences into final risk estimates.

Plain Language Summary

Pest risk maps can help forest managers develop strategies to reduce the number of introductions of invasive organisms. When possible management responses to an invader include costly or socially sensitive activities, decision-makers tend to be risk-averse. We present a new mapping technique that assesses pest invasion risk from the perspective of a risk-averse decision-maker. We demonstrate the approach by evaluating the likelihood that an invasive forest pest will be moved to a Canadian province or U.S. state in infested firewood by campers. We tested the impact of the risk aversion assumption by using several plausible pest arrival scenarios generated by a geographically explicit model developed from data about camper travel. We prioritized regions of high and low pest arrival with two modeling techniques, one of which incorporated the notion of risk aversion. We identified regions where the pest risk value changed considerably after incorporating risk aversion. While both methods identified similar areas of highest and lowest risk, they differed in how they defined moderate-risk areas. In general, the second method assigned lower risk rankings to moderate-risk areas. Our approach offers a better strategy to deal with the uncertainty associated with risk assessments and provides a manageable way to incorporate decision-making preferences into final risk estimates.

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