Population viability analysis (PVA) is a species-specific method of risk assessment frequently used in conservation biology. It is traditionally defined as the process that determines the probability that a population will go extinct within a given number of years. More recently, PVA has been described as a marriage of ecology and statistics that brings together species characteristics and environmental variability to forecast population health and extinction risk. Each PVA is individually developed for a target population or species, and consequently, each PVA is unique. The larger goal in mind when conducting a PVA is to ensure that the population of a species is self-sustaining over the long term.
Population viability analysis (PVA) is used to estimate the likelihood of a population’s extinction and indicate the urgency of recovery efforts, and identify key life stages or processes that should be the focus of recovery efforts. PVA is also used to compare proposed management options and assess existing recovery efforts. PVA is frequently used in endangered species management to develop a plan of action, rank the pros and cons of different management scenarios, and assess the potential impacts of habitat loss.
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