Reintroduction can be necessary for recovering populations of threatened species. However, the success of reintroduction efforts has been poorer than many biologists and managers would hope. To increase the benefits gained from reintroduction, management decision making should be couched within formal decision-analytic frameworks. Decision analysis is a structured process for informing decision making that recognizes that all decisions have a set of components—objectives, alternative management actions, predictive models, and optimization methods—that can be decomposed, analyzed, and recomposed to facilitate optimal, transparent decisions. Because the outcome of interest in reintroduction efforts is typically population viability or related metrics, models used in decision analysis efforts for reintroductions will need to include population models. In this special section of the Journal of Wildlife Management, we highlight examples of the construction and use of models for informing management decisions in reintroduced populations. In this introductory contribution, we review concepts in decision analysis, population modeling for analysis of decisions in reintroduction settings, and future directions. Increased use of formal decision analysis, including adaptive management, has great potential to inform reintroduction efforts. Adopting these practices will require close collaboration among managers, decision analysts, population modelers, and field biologists.
Additional publication details
Demographics of reintroduced populations: estimation, modeling, and decision analysis