Confronting uncertainty: Contributions of the wildlife profession to the broader scientific community

Journal of Wildlife Management



Most wildlife professionals are engaged in 1 or both of 2 basic endeavors: science and management. These endeavors are a focus of many other disciplines, leading to widespread sharing of general methodologies. Wildlife professionals have appropriately borrowed and assimilated many methods developed primarily in other disciplines but have also led the development of one class of quantitative methods, those that confront and incorporate uncertainty. Uncertainty arises in counts of focal entities, for which wildlife professionals have developed effective methods to deal with the common problems of nondetection and misclassification. These methods have been borrowed by disciplines as varied as paleobiology, medicine, human epidemiology, industrial quality control, military target acquisition, remote sensing, and human census. Uncertainty also arises in the modeling of those counts, specifically the observation and ecological processes that generated them. Wildlife professionals recognized the fundamental importance of model selection and rapidly assimilated methods for selecting the most appropriate model for a given data set. These methods for dealing with uncertainty inherent to counting and modeling are critical to the conduct of science and management. Wildlife professionals have developed additional methods for incorporating uncertainty in the accumulation of knowledge and the development of optimal decisions in an environment of learning. In some cases, professionals in other disciplines are using methods developed and popularized in the wildlife profession, but there is much potential for greater use. In this essay, I describe these areas of wildlife leadership, document their assimilation by other disciplines, and emphasize the potential for more interdisciplinary use of these methods. 

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Confronting uncertainty: Contributions of the wildlife profession to the broader scientific community
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21630
Volume 83
Issue 3
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher The Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 15 p.
First page 519
Last page 533
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