Predictive modeling is a technique that creates a model that can be used to project the future of hypothetical conditions. Models can be used to compare predicted impacts vs. actual impacts of a behavior or to perform an experiment that would not be feasible in the real world. In other words, a predictive model can create a simulation from data and information to predict what may happen in the future: If A equals ____ and B equals ____ then C will equal ____.
Predictive modeling can be applied in a number of ways that can help estimate long-term impacts of activities and occurrences in an area. Understanding and knowing the long-term impacts may guide management decisions to prevent future problems from occurring.
Typically, this method is used to predict aspects such as labor or income; however, it may also be useful for other factors. For example, predictive modeling can help predict the condition of the marine resource at a given time in the future, both with and without the benefit of protection.
Predictive modeling may also be an educational tool for the public and stakeholders because it can demonstrate the impacts of time and specific actions (or lack of action).
Helps predict potential outcomes of management decisions
Determines possible long-term impacts of policies
Identifies potential issues and generates hypotheses
Saves money by permitting managers to review the scenarios on a theoretic level without investing in conducting them
Accurate data not easily available
Not all future variables can be considered
Levels of reliability vary
Can be very costly
This technique requires assistance from skilled experts.
Resources: Books and Publications
Starfield, A. and A. L. Bleloch. 1986. Building Models for Conservation and Wildlife Management. New York: McMillan.
Starfield, A. M., K. A. Smith, and others. 1994. How to Model It: Problem Solving for the Computer Age. Edina, MN: Burgess International Group, Inc.