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The value of information across scales for weather-based management decisions

Karen Garrett: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida

<div>Analysis of the value of information offers a useful perspective on the benefits of research, defined in terms of how the additional information will improve decision-making. Uncertainty about weather and climate is a common challenge for decision-making for disease management, across spatial and temporal scales. Decision-making occurs across multiple scales as well, from individual farmers deciding how to manage a disease to global policy makers and donors deciding what technologies to promote and research to fund. Three types of applications for analysis of the value of information will be presented. (1) A common type of decision support in plant disease management is for farmers’ tactical decision-making based on recent weather. What approach to additional information about weather-disease relationships is most efficient? How do the cumulative decisions of farmers influence regional disease? (2) As agricultural support programs emphasize insurance programs, there is intriguing potential for financial risk management tools like insurance for plant disease. In this economic framework, what is the value of information for each type of stakeholder? (3) Agricultural development projects with the goal of enhancing crop disease management may benefit from identifying target regions where success is more likely. What is the value of information at different levels of spatial resolution and extent for identifying the best target regions?</div>

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