Cost-effective Recovery of an Endangered Species: The Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Ryan M. Finseth and Jon M. Conrad


A model for the recovery of an endangered species is developed and applied to the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), a species once abundant in the southeastern United States. There is a finite set of recovery actions that might be implemented in each period, with the goal of reaching a population target at some future date. Dynamic programming is used to solve deterministic and stochastic versions of the model. Least-cost recovery plans are found for the deterministic problem where it is possible to attain a population target with certainty. For the stochastic problem, least-cost, adaptive actions are identified. (JEL Q24, Q28)

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