. "Appendix D Forecasting for Environmental Decision Making: Research Priorities--William Ascher." Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.
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Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities
Second, given the importance of utility, conveying the magnitude and nature of uncertainty is crucial. It is a central concern of research on the communication of scientific information. In addition, determining the magnitude and nature of uncertainty is an essential research task, as is the task of understanding how uncertainty affects the decision process.
Third, forecasting is essential regardless of the approach to environmental and resource management. Even if decision makers engage in what they regard as adaptive management,1 forecasting is still required in the selection of optimal strategies. If feedback through monitoring and evaluation calls for policy changes, the decision makers still must project the likely outcomes of available alternatives; without this analysis the adaptation is just as likely to result in a deterioration of outcomes. If adaptive management resorts to policy experiments in the vein of Carl Walters, it is still essential to predict whether the outcomes pose unacceptable risks that would outweigh the benefits of learning through experimentation.
Preview of Needs
Sound environmental decision making requires forecasts that are
more comprehensive in terms of input considerations, outcomes and effects
sensitive to threshold effects (nonlinearities)
better linked to valuation of outcomes and effects so that they can assist policy makers and the public to understand the magnitude of the costs, risks, and opportunities