Project Objective: To provide science support, specifically conservation decision modeling expertise, to the SALCC team developing the regional conservation “blueprint.”
Methods: A postdoctoral research associate (postdoc) will be hired to collaborate with the SALCC as they develop first a prototype Blueprint Version 1.0 and then update to Version 1.1. The postdoc’s project is envisioned to encompass three primary stages:
Orientation and Version 1.0 Development: While SALCC leads the development of Version 1.0, the postdoc will attend the Blueprint workshops, contribute ideas and alternative design options, assist with the production of Blueprint Version 1.0. In addition to becoming oriented to the project and the associated data, a major objective of this phase will be to review and select strategies to incorporate the dynamic modeling and decision theory concepts envisioned by SALCC.
Version 1.0 Assessment: Upon delivery of Version 1.0, the postdoc will conduct a sensitivity analysis of the Blueprint. This sensitivity analysis will address questions such as: How sensitive are the Blueprint recommendations to the rank order of indicators and/or threats? How sensitive are the Blueprint recommendations to the decision criteria (e.g. action-based versus land-based conservation priorities)? These sensitivity analyses will be conducted using simulations of alternative rankings and alternative decision criteria. We anticipate that the alternatives will be drawn from discussion points and recommendations drawn from the workshops and Version 1.0 evaluation.
Version X.X Development and Assessment: Based on results of the Version 1.0 review, the postdoc’s sensitivity analysis, and an assessment of indicator performance (a separately funded project), the postdoc will recommend and assist to implement improvements to the Blueprint. Upon delivery of Version X.X, the postdoc will employ metrics of his/her own design to quantify the conservation implications of the design updates. For example, metrics could quantify changes in the sensitivity of the Blueprint to indicator rank or decision criteria or changes in the degree to which the Blueprint intersects with other existing plans at coarser and finer scales.
The specific research questions for the postdoc would evolve through consultation with SALCC during the design of Version 1.0 and would be finalized in January 2014. This delay in developing the exact methods is necessary as SALCC’s priority needs regarding the postdoc’s contribution will depend in large part on the status of Version 1.0 when delivered to the SALCC Steering Committee in January 2014.
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