The breadth and complexity of stochastic decision processes in natural resources presents a challenge to analysts who need to understand and use these approaches. The objective of this paper is to describe a class of decision processes that are germane to natural resources conservation and management, namely Markov decision processes, and to discuss applications and computing algorithms under different conditions of observability and uncertainty. A number of important similarities are developed in the framing and evaluation of different decision processes, which can be useful in their applications in natural resources management. The challenges attendant to partial observability are highlighted, and possible approaches for dealing with it are discussed.
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Markov decision processes in natural resources management: Observability and uncertainty