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Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Problem-Solving CONCEPTS AND CASE STUDIES Committee on the Applications of Ecological Theory to Environmental Problems Commission on Life Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1986

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Committee on the Applications of Ecological Theory to Environmental Problems GORDON H. ORIANS, Chairman, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington JOHN BUCKLEY, P.O. Box 263, Whitney Point, New York WILLIAM CLARK, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria MICHAEL E. GILPIN, Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California CARL F. JORDAN, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia JOHN T. LEHMAN, Division of Biological Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan ROBERT M. MAY, Department of Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey GORDON A. ROBILLIARD, Entrix Inc., Concord, California DANIEL S. SIMBERLOFF, Department of Biological Science, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida Consultant W. JAMES ERCKMANN, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington National Research Council Stay DAVID POLICANSKY, Staff Officer NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Editor AGNES GASKIN, Secretary . . . 111

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Preface This report is the product of the recognition by the Board on Basic Biology of the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences that it should be concerned with the basic biology of ecosystems. The first aspect of ecology to receive attention by the Board was the current status of ecological theory and concepts and their applicability to specific environmental problems. A workshop on this topic had been held Sep- tember 22-23, 1979, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The 15 participants represented diverse approaches to ecology and had extensive experiences in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environ- ments. Discussion during the workshop made it clear that various ap- proaches to ecology could profitably be evaluated from the point of view of the data needed to test them, the difficulty of obtaining those data, the domain over which models can be presumed to be applicable, and special precautions in the use of results. The group also recognized that further exploration of models and concepts would be more productive if it were done in the context of potential applications to environmental problem- solving. The deliberations of this workshop laid the groundwork for the estab- lishment of the Committee on Applications of Ecological Theory to En- vironmental Problems, which consists of persons with varied backgrounds in basic ecology, environmental management, and problem-solving. The chief basis of the activities of the committee was the perception that, whereas much about the functioning of ecological systems remains poorly

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V1 PREFACE understood, we commonly fail to use even available information when attempting to solve environmental problems. This failure has many causes, among which are the difficulty of determining which components of eco- logical knowledge might be most usefully applied to particular environ- mental problems and the difficulty of finding the relevant information. Those difficulties in turn are partly a result of the failure of academic ecologists to attempt to determine where and how their knowledge might be applied and of a lack of communication among generators and users of new knowledge. The committee recognized that it could not attempt to cover all aspects of ecology without producing a report of unacceptable length. Therefore, we concentrated our attention on ecological knowledge broadly con- ceived to include theories, models, data, and concepts and left methods and techniques of data analysis to be considered in detail elsewhere. This concentration should not be construed as a belief that methods and tech- niques are unimportant. The committee fully recognizes that such methods as satellite imaging and the use of powerful computers permit analyses of ecological systems on scales of space and time that were previously im- possible. These methods are more than just "tools." Nonetheless, the most powerful analytical systems are not substitutes for biological insights or imaginative questioning and hypothesizing. It is to these issues that the committee directed the bulk of its efforts. The committee also recognized that a report dominated by abstract considerations of ecological knowledge would fail to convey vividly and convincingly how ecological knowledge might improve environmental problem-solving. Therefore, we decided to develop a set of case histories that would illustrate in concrete ways how ecological information has been used and how it has influenced the ways in which problems have been conceived and solutions approached. Because the manifold problems with the quality of assessments of environmental effects of projects have been well noted and thoroughly discussed by others, the committee decided to use examples of the creative use of ecological information, believing that a good example is more instructive than a bad one. The committee carried out its tasks by means of a series of meetings in which the major format of the report was decided on. Once the plan of the report was determined, subgroups were formed to draft the various chapters of Part I. Another subgroup had the specific task of finding a series of acceptable cases for study, choosing the best ones from among a long list, and selecting persons to write the case studies. The cases were selected to illustrate the use of ecological information in dealing with a wide variety of environmental problems, from management of single spe

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PREFACE . . V11 cies to issues involving complete ecosystems over broad areas. Some of the case studies were written by persons actively involved in the projects themselves. Others were written by members of the committee who had familiarity with the examples and who could therefore write about them with some depth of understanding. To make the case studies more infor- mative, the committee prepared an evaluation of each one, pointing out how the use of ecological information had been particularly effective and how even better use of ecological knowledge could have been made. We hope that those comments will help to improve future studies of similar types. The work of the committee was supported largely by the National Research Council Fund. Additional support was received from the Office of Research and Development of the Environmental Protection Agency for preparing material on biological monitoring (Chapter 7~. The Office of Federal Activities of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Environmental Analysis of the Department of Energy provided support for a joint U.S.-Canadian workshop on cumulative environmental effects. The workshop provided much of the basis of the chapter on cumulative environmental effects (Chapter 9~. A project of this magnitude depends on the cooperation and efforts of many persons in addition to those serving on the committee. In our attempts to find good case studies, we contacted many ecologists in North America and Europe. We give special thanks to the authors of the case studies, who labored so hard to provide us with documents that followed the basic format we had established for them and who were also able to convince us that it was sometimes inappropriate to follow those guidelines slavishly. The report has been vastly improved by the devoted efforts of the National Research Council staff under the guidance of David Policansky. Dr. Policansky not only provided a valuable interface between the com- mittee and the Research Council, but also contributed extensively to the conceptual development of the project and to the writing of the report, including a case study. He was the person who consistently and insistently reminded the committee members of their duties and responsibilities, thereby preventing the report from appearing even later than it has. Sim- ilarly, W. James Erckmann, who assisted in production of the report, played a key role in the writing of the chapters of Part I and in the development of the project and the case studies. We are deeply indebted to Norman Grossblatt of the Commission on Life Sciences for his thought- ful, careful editing; he has immeasurably improved the clarity and style of the report. The report has also benefited from the patient and insightful clerical support of Agnes Gaskin of the Board on Basic Biology and

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V111 PREFACE Jeanette Pederson of the Institute for Environmental Studies, as well as from the comments of several reviewers. Without support of such quality and quantity, our report could not have achieved the quality we now believe it possesses. GORDON H. ORIANS Chairman Committee on Applications of Ecological Theory to Environmental Problems

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Contents Introduction .................. Kinds of Ecological Knowledge and. Their Applications 1. Individuals and Single Populations 23 2. Population Interactions 38 3. Community Ecology 4. Materials and Energy 5. Scales in Space and Time .................... 47 ................................. 68 6. Analog, Generic, and Pilot Studies and Treatment of a Project as an Experiment 75 7. Indicator Species and Biological Monitoring 8. Dealing with Uncertainty ........... 1X ............ 81 ....................... 88

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x 9. The Special Problem of Cumulative Effects 10. A Scientific Framework for Environmental Problem-Solving ............................ I. References ........... I} Selected Case Studies 12. North Pacific Halibut Fishery Management Case Study by David Policansky 13. Vampire Bat Control in Latin America Case Study by G. Clay Mitchell 14. Biological Control of California Red Scale Case Study by Robert F. Luck 15. Experimental Control of Malaria in West Africa Case Study by Robert M. May 16. Protecting Caribou During Hytiroelectric Development in Newfoundland Case Study by David I. Kiev, Edwarc! L. Hill, and Shane P. Mahoney CONTENTS ............. 93 104 .................................. 116 .............. 137 ................... 151 .............. 165 ........ 190 ................................ 205 17. Conserving a Regional Spotted Owl Population Case Study by Hal Salwasser 18. Restoring Derelict Lands in Great Britain Case Study by Peter Wathern 19. Optimizing Timber Yields in New Brunswick Forests Case Study by Thom A. Erdie and Gordon L. Baskervitle ......... 227 ................ 248

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CONTENTS 20. Control of Eutrophication in Lake Washington Case Study by John T. Lehman 21. Raising the Level of a Subarctic Lake Case Study by John T. Lehman 22. Ecological Effects of Nuclear Radiation Case Study by Car! F. Jordan 23. Ecological Effects of Forest Clearcutting Case Study by Car! F. Jordan 24. Environmental Effects of DDT Case Study by John Buckley Index ......... X1 .......... 301 .................. 317 .................. 331 ................ 345 ............................ 358 .............. 375

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