University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned a lot while I was in Alaska—everything from identifying tundra vegetation to what to do if a bear attacks." — Genna Waldvogel

    Genna WaldvogelEnvironmental sciences major, intern at Alaska field station, conductor of research project on seasons and streams. More about Genna >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I felt a strong sense of community in RSENR." — Kelsey Head

    Kelsey Head Environmental studies major, student educator with the UVM Watershed Alliance, creator of environmental curriculum for young people, intern, volunteer coordinator. More about Kelsey >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I directly contributed to the outcome of the project." — Joshua Carrera

    Joshua Carrera Natural resources major, social activist, co-creator of online course, participant in travel study to Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and beyond, delegate. More about Joshua >>

  • environmental leaders

    " I was looking to learn and broaden my experience in the wildlife biology and education fields." — Flavio Sutti, Ph.D. student

    Flavio SuttiPh.D. candidate in natural resources, Consultant biologist in Italy, master in wildlife biology, researching landscape context as a framework for agricultural systems. More about Flavio >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I care deeply about forests, and I have come to care passionately about working with horses in the woods." — Ethan Tapper

    Ethan TapperForestry major, horse logging intern studying forest management and impact of horses working in the woods. More about Ethan >>

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School...

Academic Programs

 Undergraduate Majors
 Undergraduate Minors
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Wildlife Biology
 Graduate Degrees, Concentrations & Certificates



Thursday August 21, 2014
Decision Support for Natural Resource Management

By Jonathan W. Cummings

Seminar: 3:00pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 4:00pm, Aiken 311

Dr. Therese (Terri) Donovan, Associate Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Dr. Ruth Mickey, Professor, CEMS, Chair
Dr. James (Jed) Murdoch, Assistant Professor, RSENR
Dr. Jennifer Pontius, Assistant Professor, RSENR

This research spans a variety of research topics with a common theme, providing decision support through the development and analysis of methods that assist decision making for natural resource and wildlife management. I used components of structured decision making and decision analysis to address natural resources management problems, specifically monitoring and estimating the status of harvested populations, as well as data collection decisions for landscape conservation.

My results have implications for the way populations are monitored and their status is estimated. I find that the inclusion of error in data collection can have a substantial impact of the performance of abundance and growth rate estimates of harvest species and that the selection of estimation methods depends on what management objectives are most important. For example, the Sex-Age-Kill population estimation method best estimates the size of populations, while the Downing population reconstruction method better estimates trends in population growth rates. I provide a framework to support selection of the best estimation method while considering a monitoring program as a whole. Based on this framework the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will obtain the most benefits from a monitoring program including necropsy analysis that uses the Downing method to track population status. Finally, I demonstrate the use of value of information analysis as a tool to determine the relative expected benefits of addition spatial data collection for use in landscape mapping and conservation. This type of analysis can provide conservation agencies with a planning tool to direct budgets and mapping efforts.
Sunday August 24, 2014
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. + UVM Convocation Ceremony
The Convocation Ceremony will commence in Patrick Gymnasium at 6:00 p.m., followed by a procession down Main Street and a Twilight Induction Ceremony on the Green. All events are free and open to the public.
Monday August 25, 2014

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