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Optimal control of an invasive species with imperfect information about the level of infestation

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  • Haight, Robert G.
  • Polasky, Stephen

Abstract

The presence of invasive species is often not realized until well after the species becomes established. Discovering the location and extent of infestation before the invasive species causes widespread damage typically requires intensive monitoring efforts. In this paper, we analyze the problem of controlling an invasive species when there is imperfect information about the degree of infestation. We model the problem as a partially observable Markov decision process in which the decision-maker receives an imperfect signal about the level of infestation. The decision-maker then chooses a management action to minimize expected costs based on beliefs about the level of infestation. We apply this model to a simple application with three possible levels of infestation where the decision-maker can choose to take no action, only monitor, only treat, or do both monitoring and treatment jointly. We solve for optimal management as a function of beliefs about the level of infestation. For a case with positive monitoring and treatment costs, we find that the optimal policy involves choosing no action when there is a sufficiently large probability of no infestation, monitoring alone with intermediate probability values and treatment alone when the probability of moderate or high infestation is large. We also show how optimal management and expected costs change as the cost or quality of information from monitoring changes. With costless and perfect monitoring, expected costs are 20-30% lower across the range of belief states relative to the expected costs without monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Haight, Robert G. & Polasky, Stephen, 2010. "Optimal control of an invasive species with imperfect information about the level of infestation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 519-533, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:519-533
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dalmazzone, Silvana & Giaccaria, Sergio, 2014. "Economic drivers of biological invasions: A worldwide, bio-geographic analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 154-165.
    2. Horie, Tetsuya & Haight, Robert G. & Homans, Frances R. & Venette, Robert C., 2013. "Optimal strategies for the surveillance and control of forest pathogens: A case study with oak wilt," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 78-85.
    3. repec:eee:ecomod:v:368:y:2018:i:c:p:288-297 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fan, Xiaoli & Gómez, Miguel & Atallah, Shadi, 2016. "Optimal Monitoring and Controlling of Invasive Species: The Case of Spotted Wing Drosophila in the United States," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236042, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Bond, Craig A. & Iverson, Terrence, 2011. "Modeling Information in Environmental Decision-Making," Western Economics Forum, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 10(02).
    6. repec:eee:ecomod:v:222:y:2011:i:5:p:1092-1102 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:jeeman:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:223-245 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bate, Andrew M. & Jones, Glyn & Kleczkowski, Adam & MacLeod, Alan & Naylor, Rebecca & Timmis, Jon & Touza, Julia & White, Piran C.L., 2016. "Modelling the impact and control of an infectious disease in a plant nursery with infected plant material inputs," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 334(C), pages 27-43.
    9. Fackler, Paul L. & Haight, Robert G., 2014. "Monitoring as a partially observable decision problem," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 226-241.
    10. Yemshanov, Denys & Haight, Robert G. & Koch, Frank H. & Lu, Bo & Venette, Robert & Fournier, Ronald E. & Turgeon, Jean J., 2017. "Robust Surveillance and Control of Invasive Species Using a Scenario Optimization Approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 86-98.
    11. Lee, Donna J. & Motoki, Michael & Vanderwoude, Casper & Nakamoto, Stuart T. & Leung, PingSun, 2015. "Taking the sting out of Little Fire Ant in Hawaii," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 100-110.
    12. repec:oup:renvpo:v:12:y:2018:i:1:p:92-112. is not listed on IDEAS

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