Don’t forget the weather

Decision scientist and policy person out in the field. Researchers want their research to inform policy and management but it often doesn’t happen. For greater interaction, scientists need to acknowledge the many cultural differences between the the world of research and policy formation.

Decision science and environmental policy

Achieving better outcomes from environmental policy is more than just good science Key messages: Decision science is only one of many factors that may be relevant in the environmental-policy process. Decision science has enormous potential to make policies more effective at delivering outcomes that are highly valued by the community. There are a number of […]

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Triggers: linking monitoring to decision making

How we can better integrate decision triggers into management Managing natural environments involves making difficult decisions about when to intervene to prevent undesirable changes. Intervening too early may result in unnecessary management actions, while intervening too late may lead to much greater costs or irreversible outcomes. ‘Decision triggers’ is one approach that can be useful […]

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The field of environmental decision analysis has come a long
way in recent decades. So much so that the richness of decisionmaking
approaches can sometimes seem overwhelming. Underlying
that richness are a few basic elements and processes. In this article we
present some key elements to help point the way.

Navigating the field of decision analysis

Helping decision makers frame, analyze, and implement decisions Key messages: 1. All decisions have the same recognizable elements. Context, objectives, alternatives, consequences, and deliberation. Decision makers and analysts familiar with these elements can quickly see the underlying structure of a decision. 2. There are only a small number of classes of decisions. These classes differ […]

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The mass migration of red crabs on Christmas Island is one of the natural wonders of the world. But the red crab and many other species on this isolated island are under threat. Given limited resources, how do Christmas Island National Park managers choose between multiple actions to protect multiple species?  (Photo by Max Orchard, Parks Australia)

Choosing between options with limited resources

A simple Cost-Effective Resource Allocator Key messages: Decision scientists working with national park managers have developed a user-friendly Cost-Effective Resource Allocator The allocator prioritises the set of management strategies that maximise the total number of years that a suite of species is expected to persist given a constrained budget The allocator uses a series of […]

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Billions of dollars have been invested in large-scale restoration programs across farming landscapes in Australia and overseas. Some projects involve the protection of remnant native vegetation, others involve linear or block plantings of native trees. Some involve innovative mixes of native and traditional crops. Which approaches work? Which designs are most cost effective and enduring? Longterm monitoring can generate the evidence on which to judge these programs and build better policy (evidence-based policy). Unfortunately, long-term monitoring for such programs is more the exception than the rule. (Image by Dean Ansell)

Five things about long-term monitoring

Good decisions for the environment need an eye on the longer term Key messages: Long-term monitoring provides essential evidence on which to base good environmental decisions Good design is essential for effective long-term monitoring Things change over time; to remain effective, long-term monitoring needs to adapt around these changes Partnerships are crucial for ensuring long-term […]

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Prescribed burns for multiple objectives

Fire management for asset protection and the environment Reducing fuel around assets is considered a good hazard-reduction strategy, however, a more effective approach may be to burn for a mosaic throughout the ecosystem. This may reduce the overall fuel of the system, as well has have added benefits for the environment. Land managers and scientists […]

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Ethics, equity and a ‘good’ environmental decision

Ethics and environmental decision science When researchers hear the word ‘ethics’ they often groan. That’s because the term usually arises in connection to ethics committees; panels which university-based scientists need to go through to get permission to undertake research. They ‘groan’ because it’s another transaction cost on getting their research done. Having said that, every […]

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Decision Science 101

Earlier this year CEED’s Chief Investigators came together at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (Lamington National Park, Qld, CIs are pictured) to reflect on CEED’s impact on the world of environmental decision science and to plan a ‘book of lessons’ emerging out of our research. CEED didn’t invent decision science but, through its research and tool development, […]

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Ecosystem services: an idea with enormous value

And CEED is active in realising that potential The idea of ecosystem services emphasizes the benefits that nature provides – benefits that are both tangible and intangible. This, among other things, includes the production of food and clean water, the regulation of floods, the provision of recreation and scenic beauty, a connection to place, and […]

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‘Degraded’, or is it just different?

One of the world’s leading restoration ecologists has questioned the way we use the term ‘degraded’. According to CEED Chief Investigator Professor Richard Hobbs this is far more than simple semantics. How we assess whether a system is degraded has major implications for whether restoration is required. In a paper just published in Restoration Ecology, […]

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CEED leads international effort to make more of scenarios

CEED recently joined forces with CSIRO and the Belmont Forum project ‘ScenNet’ to explore ways that scenarios and models could be better used in setting and implementing conservation policy at national to global scales. (ScenNet is a global collaboration of researchers working on scenarios and models to support conservation assessment and decisions.) Developing environmental policy […]

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Making environmental decisions using the wrong metric

Good environmental decision making is information-intensive. Environmental managers invest a lot in monitoring and research to collect information, but often take a rough-and-ready approach to combining that information into a form that is useful for decision making. Does this matter? Does it make a difference to environmental outcomes to use a theoretically sound decision metric, compared with a weak decision metric? That was the question we set out to answer by comparing environmental outcomes generated by these two approaches.

What we found, in short, was that it does matter which decision metric you use. Indeed, it can make an enormous difference. As a consequence, many decision metrics used by environmental managers result in us missing out on very large environmental benefits.

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