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Prioritizing exotic or invasive pest threats in terms of agricultural, environmental, or human health damages is an important resource allocation issue for programs charged with preventing or responding to the entry of such organisms. Under extreme uncertainty, program managers may decide to research the severity of threats, develop prevention or control actions, and estimate cost-effectiveness in order to provide better information and more options when making decisions to choose strategies for specific pests. We examine decision rules based on the minimax and relative cost criteria in order to express a cautious approach for decisions regarding severe, irreversible consequences, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these rules, examine the roles of simple rules and sophisticated analyses in decision making, and apply a simple rule to develop a list of priority plant pests.


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