Minimizing the cost of translocation failure with decision-tree models that predict species’ behavioral response in translocation sites Academic Article uri icon


  • The high number of failures is one reason why translocation is often not recommended. Considering how behavior changes during translocations may improve translocation success. To derive decision-tree models for species' translocation, we used data on the short-term responses of an endangered Australian skink in 5 simulated translocations with different release conditions. We used 4 different decision-tree algorithms (decision tree, decision-tree parallel, decision stump, and random forest) with 4 different criteria (gain ratio, information gain, gini index, and accuracy) to investigate how environmental and behavioral parameters may affect the success of a translocation. We assumed behavioral changes that increased dispersal away from a release site would reduce translocation success. The trees became more complex when we included all behavioral parameters as attributes, but these trees yielded more detailed information about why and how dispersal occurred. According to these complex trees, there were positive associations between some behavioral parameters, such as fight and dispersal, that showed there was a higher chance, for example, of dispersal among lizards that fought than among those that did not fight. Decision trees based on parameters related to release conditions were easier to understand and could be used by managers to make translocation decisions under different circumstances.

publication date

  • 2015