Flexible conservation management, where measures are selected in each decision period and depending on the current state of the ecological system, are generally perceived as superior to fixed management, where the same measure is applied in each decision period independent of the current state of the system. In past comparisons of fixed and flexible conservation strategies the additional costs that arise only in flexible strategies have usually been ignored. In this paper we present a framework to integrate these 'costs of flexible management' into the evaluation of flexible conservation strategies. Using the example of an endangered butterfly species we demonstrate that the costs of flexible management may reverse the rank order of flexible and fixed conservation strategies, such that fixed strategies may lead to better ecological results than flexible ones for the same financial budget.
conservation ecological-economic model extinction flexible management