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Title: Analysis of sensitivity and uncertainty in an individual-based model of a threatened wildlife species

Author: Marcot, Bruce G.; Singleton, Peter H.; Schumaker, Nathan H.;

Date: 2015

Source: Natural Resource Modeling 28(1): 37-58

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Sensitivity analysis—determination of how prediction variables affect response variables—of individual-based models (IBMs) are few but important to the interpretation of model output. We present sensitivity analysis of a spatially explicit IBM (HexSim) of a threatened species, the Northern Spotted Owl (NSO; Strix occidentalis caurina) in Washington, USA. We explored sensitivity to HexSim variables representing habitat quality, movement, dispersal, and model architecture; previous NSO studies have well established sensitivity of model output to vital rate variation. We developed “normative” (expected) model settings from field studies, and then varied the values of => 1 input parameter at a time by ±10% and ±50% of their normative values to determine influence on response variables of population size and trend. We determined time to population equilibration and dynamics of populations above and below carrying capacity. Recovery time from small population size to carrying capacity greatly exceeded decay time from an overpopulated condition, suggesting lag time required to repopulate newly available habitat. Response variables were most sensitive to input parameters of habitat quality which are well-studied for this species and controllable by management. HexSim thus seems useful for evaluating potential NSO population responses to landscape patterns for which good empirical information is available.

Keywords: Individual-based model, HexSim model, sensitivity analysis, uncertainty analysis.

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Marcot, Bruce G.; Singleton, Peter H.; Schumaker, Nathan H. 2015. Analysis of sensitivity and uncertainty in an individual-based model of a threatened wildlife species. Natural Resource Modeling 28(1): 37-58.


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