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Portfolio selection theory and wildlife management

JW Hearne
T Santikay
P Goodman


With a strong commercial incentive driving the increase in game ranching in Southern Africa the need has come for more advanced management tools. In this paper the potential of Port- folio Selection Theory to determine the optimal mix of species on game ranches is explored. Land, or the food it produces, is a resource available to invest. We consider species as invest- ment choices. Each species has its own return and risk profle. The question arises as to what proportion of the resource available should be invested in each species. We show that if the objective is to minimise risk for a given return, then the problem is analogous to the Portfolio Selection Problem. The method is then implemented for a typical game ranch. We show that besides risk and return objectives, it is necessary to include an additional objective so as to ensure sufficient species to maintain the character of a game ranch. Some other points of difference from the classical Portfolio Selection problem are also highlighted and discussed.

Keywords: Portfolio selection, multi-objective optimisation, game ranching, wildlife management.

ORiON Vol. 24 (2) 2008: pp. 103-113