I've just uploaded notes on economic approaches to valuation. I'll be posting what I hope will be clearer guidelines for the little experiment tomorrow morning.
Scenario A: 25% chance of successNow tell me how much of your $1000 in net worth you'd be willing to invest in each of the three scenarios.
Scenario B: 50% chance of success
Scenario C: 75% chance of success
Scenario D: 100% chance of success
Charismatic groups of animals and plants often are proposed as sentinels of environmental status and trends. Nevertheless, many claims that a certain taxonomic group can provide more-general information on environmental quality are not evaluated critically. To address several of the many definitions of indicator species, we used butterflies to explore in some detail the attributes that affect implementation of indicators generically. There probably are few individual species, or sets of species, that can serve as scientifically valid, cost-effective measures of the status or trend of an environmental phenomenon that is difficult to measure directly. Nevertheless, there are species with distributions, abundances, or demographic characteristics that are responsive to known environmental changes. In this context, single or multiple species can serve as indicators when targets are defined explicitly, ecological relationships between the target and the putative indicators are well understood, and data are sufficient to differentiate between deterministic and stochastic responses. Although these situations exist, they are less common than might be apparent from an extensive and often confounded literature on indicators. Instead, the public appeal of charismatic groups may be driving much of their acclaim as indicators. The same taxon may not be appropriate for marketing a general conservation mission and for drawing strong inference about specific environmental changes. To provide insights into the progress of conservation efforts, it is essential to identify scientific and practical criteria for selection and application of indicators and then to examine whether a given taxonomic group meets those criteria.
This work had two main objectives: (1) to compare priority sites proposed by the Chilean commission for the environment in a politically driven process to the results of alternative systematic conservation planning scenarios; and (2) to compare the efficacy of systematic conservation planning based on different types of conservation targets (forest types and bird species) and minimum area thresholds. To address these issues, we used vegetation cover as well as field data on forest birds in central Chile. Bird species distributions were modeled using a variety of climatic and environmental layers, allowing for the integration of environmental heterogeneity into the planning process. We then ran several conservation planning scenarios considering conservation targets based on vegetation types alone, birds alone, or a combination of vegetation and birds. Collectively these results show that conservation planning results differ significantly when considering birds or vegetation types, and that minimum area requirements for each conservation feature has a great influence on the final results. (emphasis added)Here's a link to the paper.