Human and social dimensions of good environmental decision making

Gazing across the Mediterreanean Sea, home to hundreds of
species of threatened species and regarded as a biodiversity hotspot.
Protecting this natural value is beyond the scope of any single nation
lining its shores. How do you approach the task of collaboration in a
such a complex sociopolitical environment?

Collaboration across the sea

Better marine conservation outcomes from a little cross-boundary collaboration Key messages: Decisions around marine conservation can be substantially influenced by whether they cross international and political boundaries. Taking this into account, it is important to understand the challenges, opportunities and constraints involved in conservation collaborations. Collaboration can occur at a variety of spatial scales (regions, […]

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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. (Photo by David Salt)

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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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. (Photo by Dean Ansell)

The importance of 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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Fishery managers constantly have to deal with the challenge
of making decisions on allowable catch quotas with incomplete
information. Adaptive management is one pathway to meet this
challenge. (Photo by Megan Saunders)

Learning about adaptive management

Good decisions produce results AND help you learn Key messages: Ecological problems are poorly understood, but often require immediate management action. Adaptive management allows action to be taken immediately, and also helps learning. Though commonly cited, true adaptive management is rarely applied. Changing management because of ongoing monitoring at management sites is not adaptive management. […]

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A very short history of Decision Point

Decision Point was established in 2008 by the Applied Environmental Decision Analysis Hub (AEDA: 2007-2010, through funding from the Commonwealth Environment Research Facility), the decision science network that preceded CEED. The magazine was also co-funded by the National Environmental Research Program Environmental Decisions Hub (NERP ED: 2011-2015). Over its life-time, CEED has been the major […]

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Many species of migratory bird are in trouble with populations
in steep decline. There are loud calls for governments to act to save
them, but there is so much we don’t know about the likely responses
to management actions. The result is often a call for more information,
more data. Is the collection of new data likely to make a difference?
Value of information analysis is one approach that seeks to find an
answer to this question. (Photo by Rob Clemens)

Valuing information for better decisions

Does more data necessarily lead to better outcomes? Key messages: Collecting more data is often used as an excuse to delay a decision. Sometimes new data is important to a decision, sometimes it won’t affect it. Value of information (VoI) analysis can assist decision makers assess the value of collecting more information. VoI analysis was […]

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A group of CEED ecologists and economists with an interest
in landscape restoration are shown a variety of restoration projects in
the Canberra region. Many restoration proposals are put forward for
funding but available resources will only support a small percentage
of these. How do decision makers prioritise which projects should get
funding and which don’t? (Photo by David Salt)

Prioritising environmental investments

Why bother? How is it done? Key messages: Prioritisation is unavoidable; most environmental programs have too few resources to meet their goals. Given the great variation between potential environmental investments, good prioritisation is critically important. In most cases, good prioritisation of environmental investments is reasonably easy to apply. In some cases, prioritisation is more complex […]

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Restoring native woodlands (right) on degraded land (left) can take considerable resources (time and money). Working without a good explicit conceptual model of how the ecosystem functions or responds to management interventions is a bit like shooting in the dark. Most of the time you miss your target and it’s very hard to learn from success or
failure.

Building models for better decisions

The role of ecological understanding, models & model makers in decision making Key messages: System models can provide explicit representations of how an ecosystem functions. In the context of making decisions, this allows a manager to explore the impacts of management actions on the key values (objectives) at hand. Models are sometimes developed in response […]

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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.
(Photo by David Salt)

Navigating the field of decision analysis

Helping decision makers frame, analyze, and implement decisions Managers, policy makers, and decision makers with responsibility for environmental decisions have an extraordinarily difficult job. The systems they manage are complex (coupled human-natural systems), with many dimensions and complicated dynamics. Our knowledge of how those systems respond to management actions is often limited, so many of […]

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One of CEED’s legacies will be our attempt to develop a framework
to measure CEED’s impact, a methodology that can be applied to any
research network (see Decision Point #106 for details) . Pictured here is
the working group that developed the framework. From left (front row)
are Sarah Bekessy, Dave Pannell (who led the evaluation), Tas Thamo,
Tammie Harold, Eve Macdonald- Madden; (middle row), Kerrie Wilson,
Jonathan Rhodes, Richard Hobbs, Margaret Byrne; (back row), Tony
Peacock, Alistar Robertson, Vanessa Adams and Kathy Avent.

Many legacies

And one final bumper issue of Decision Point All good things come to an end. The challenge is to learn from our investments (our choices and decisions), savour the good bits, learn from the not-so-good bits, and move on. As 2018 closes, so does CEED. We’ve come to the end of our funding but we […]

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A good decision for the environment

What’s a good decision for the environment? Is it: More funding for biodiversity conservation? a new national park being declared? a threatened species being declared a state emblem to give it a higher profile? or a program to pay farmers for good environmental stewardship? All of these proposals would be sold by the government (or […]

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