GMDPtoolbox: A Matlab library for designing spatial management policies. Application to the long-term collective management of an airborne disease

Cros, Marie-Josée; Aubertot, Jean-Noël; Peyrard, Nathalie; Sabbadin, Régis
October 2017
PLoS ONE;10/05/2017, Vol. 12 Issue 10, p1
Academic Journal
Designing management policies in ecology and agroecology is complex. Several components must be managed together while they strongly interact spatially. Decision choices must be made under uncertainty on the results of the actions and on the system dynamics. Furthermore, the objectives pursued when managing ecological systems or agroecosystems are usually long term objectives, such as biodiversity conservation or sustainable crop production. The framework of Graph-Based Markov Decision Processes (GMDP) is well adapted to the qualitative modeling of such problems of sequential decision under uncertainty. Spatial interactions are easily modeled and integrated control policies (combining several action levers) can be designed through optimization. The provided policies are adaptive, meaning that management actions are decided at each time step (for instance yearly) and the chosen actions depend on the current system state. This framework has already been successfully applied to forest management and invasive species management. However, up to now, no “easy-to-use” implementation of this framework was available. We present GMDPtoolbox, a Matlab toolbox which can be used both for the design of new management policies and for comparing policies by simulation. We provide an illustration of the use of the toolbox on a realistic crop disease management problem: the design of long term management policy of blackleg of canola using an optimal combination of three possible cultural levers. This example shows how GMDPtoolbox can be used as a tool to support expert thinking.


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