AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Patrol Strategies to Maximize Pristine Forest Area
Matthew Paul Johnson, Fei Fang, Milind Tambe

Last modified: 2012-07-12

Abstract


Illegal extraction of forest resources is fought, in many developing countries, by patrols that try to make this activity less profitable, using the threat of confiscation. With a limited budget, officials will try to distribute the patrols throughout the forest intelligently, in order to most effectively limit extraction. Prior work in forest economics has formalized this as a Stackelberg game, one very different in character from the discrete Stackelberg problem settings previously studied in the multiagent literature. Specifically, the leader wishes to minimize the distance by which a profit-maximizing extractor will trespass into the forest---or to maximize the radius of the remaining ``pristine'' forest area. The follower's cost-benefit analysis of potential trespass distances is affected by the likelihood of being caught and suffering confiscation. In this paper, we give a near-optimal patrol allocation algorithm and a 1/2-approximation algorithm, the latter of which is more efficient and yields simpler, more practical patrol allocations. Our simulations indicate that these algorithms substantially outperform existing heuristic allocations.

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