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Many environmental activists often have preconceived ideas of environmental protection and problem solving. They react emotionally to news of deforestation, a new housing development, or a planned big-box store without thinking about the problem logically, and they may automatically regard foresters, development companies, and corporations as opponents.


As their views harden, discourse turns acrimonious, and it becomes ever more difficult to find satisfactory solutions. This book teaches those on both sides of the table to address their own preconceptions and approach hard issues critically, methodically, and fairly. Boundaries in open systems, such as the ocean or atmosphere, are the most difficult to define. Making judgments about boundaries is difficult, and many surprises have occurred. For example, large water impoundments can influence local climate or induce earthquakes Baxter and Glaude, When DDT was first used as a pesticide, no one expected it to appear in animals in the ocean Chapter The DDT story and similar cases e.

Assumptions implicit in management decisions might result in setting boundaries that omit critical processes. Attempts to increase stocks of anadromous fish by increasing reproduction in rivers might fail if survival in the ocean is already limited by food supply Peterman, Recent efforts to protect and conserve species have shown how management of a population requires consideration of its relationship with other populations Franker and Soule, ; Schonewald-Cox, ; Soule and Wilcox, And only recently has it been recognized that systematic management procedures e.

Administrative constraints include jurisdictional limits, insufficient time or funding, and political factors.

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Spatial boundaries are often obvious, unless long-range transport phenomena are involved. Temporal boundaries might be less well defined, because of political and other uncertainties; as we go from short-term, local effects at the population level to long- term, regional effects at the ecosystem level, we are less able to predict them Christensen et al. Other technical constraints are imposed by environmental variability, project location, and logistical problems. Setting appropriate temporal and spatial boundaries is important in the management of species populations, whether for protection, control, or harvest.

When populations become small, patterns and rates of interchange of individuals and genes between populations become critical. The sizes of populations needed for the long-term maintenance of the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest depend on whether the Columbia River is a dispersal barrier Chapter When timber is managed on a forest-wide basis, rather than by stands, yields are higher and more consistent Chapter Physical and chemical processes can be critical in defining boundaries in aquatic systems, particularly when the spread and accumulation of pollutants are involved.

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The control of eutrophication in Lake Washington depended on knowledge of flow rates through the lake and the low turnover of phosphate in lake sediments Chapter Studies designed to test them can increase our ability to predict environ- mental effects. In addition, the explicit statement of hypotheses helps us to identify important assumptions and formulate specific objectives for ecological studies. However, despite the acknowledged value of testing hypotheses in solving environmental problems, many studies are not de- signed and conducted to do so. Many studies in wildlife management, for example, involve elaborate collection of field data with only after-the-fact attempts at explanation Romesburg, In practice, most general hypotheses are evaluated by testing specific predictions that arose from them.

In environmental impact assessment, the predictions themselves are a major product of preproject research. It is often helpful to develop several hypotheses about possible effects and their causes, so that studies can be designed to distinguish among them. Despite the difficulty of assigning causality in field experiments Sharp et al.

The baseline can best be viewed as a description of the mean values and natural variability in the system Hirsch, Judgments of how much information is needed are often difficult, because of periodic cycles, random events, and spatial hetero- geneity and because many variables can change systematically during the baseline study period e. Statistical guidance is available for designing baseline and monitoring programs once the variables of interest have been identified Cowell, ; Eberhardt, , ; Green, ; Kumar, ; Lucas, ; Sharp et al.

Two common problems that make it difficult to design projects as experiments properly are the lack of adequate controls Cowell, and the lack of true replicates Eberhardt, Eberhardt suggested a "pseudodesign" with baseline data on a control area and the project site. They can be compared with data collected when the project is complete, with replicates in time substituting for spatial replicates.

Baseline and monitoring studies are most effective if they are statistically designed to detect changes of the magnitude expected Zar, This expectation in turn determines the extent of sampling required Hartzbank and McCusker, In highly variable systems, adequate sampling might be too expensive, and resources might be better used in carrying out less direct studies. Baseline information can sometimes be derived after impacts have already occurred e. The Lake Washington case Chapter 20 is an excellent example of testing hypotheses concerning the effect of lake fertilization changes on the makeup of plankton communities.

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A great deal was learned from this case, because monitoring continued throughout the development and treat- ment of the problem. Similarly, scientists at Southern Indian Lake Chapter 21 were able to test hypotheses derived from the results of other lake studies and current limnological models. Carefully designed studies before. Field and laboratory experiments can be used to test hypotheses. The Garki malaria project Chapter 15 was itself a large-scale experiment to investigate a model for controlling malaria through a combination of drugs and mosquito control.

Careful monitoring studies before, during, and after applications allowed the model to be tested, and an important phenomenon exophily was discovered. The predictions should be as clearly and precisely stated as possible. The period over which a change is expected to occur, the bases of the prediction, and the degree of uncertainty should be spec- ified. Determining the significance of predicted or observed ecological changes is often very difficult, because ecological systems are not fully understood.

A clear distinction, if it can be made, between the magnitude of a change and its biological importance is useful. The rates of change and recovery are often important components of ecological effects e. The overall significance of an effect is tied closely to the definition of environmental goals. The best course for scientists is to predict or describe changes precisely. Whether or not a change is " significant" is a judgment that transcends science and is best made by all interested parties. Several of the cases studied were organized around tests of specific predictions. In the derelict lands restoration case Chapter 18 , predictions were derived from empirical results of other restoration efforts and basic plant ecological theory.

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The bases of these predictions were clearly stated, and tests of them produced results of value to other restoration projects. Predictions in the Atomic Energy Commission radiation studies were de- rived from knowledge of food-chain dynamics and laboratory studies, and hypotheses were continually revised as predictions were tested experi- mentally Chapter In the Lake Washington case, scientists predicted not only specific changes in water quality, but also the periods over which deterioration and recovery would occur Chapter In the Southern Indian Lake studies Chapter 21 , predictions were based on analogs and limnological.

In both cases, careful monitoring was incorporated into comprehensive postproject analyses to improve un- derstanding. Studies conducted during or after an action or project are designed to learn what ecological changes resulted. Anticipatory monitoring is designed to track the effects of activities that might be cumulative or pose hazards to human health Baker, In the event of unexpected environmental changes, monitoring can facilitate adaptive changes in management and in the design of ecological studies Hilborn et al.

Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language. Addressing environmental problems in a systematic way increases the likelihood of resolution. Identify the Environmental Problem A problem statement should be developed that is descriptive enough to allow a regulatory agency to determine whether or not the problem justifies action. Establish Goals and Measures Your blueprint for successfully addressing your environmental problem will be drawn as you set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive goals and identify the measures that you will use to determine your progress.

Put Together a Problem-Solving Toolkit Environmental problems can often be solved by simply asking the offending party to rectify the problem. Determine Roles and Responsibilities The appropriate working groups, committees and subject matter experts should be identified and brought together to define actionable steps and delegate the responsibility of ensuring those steps are carried out.

Environmental Problem Solving: A How-to Guide - Jeffrey W. Hughes - Google Книги

Implement the Plan The development of a step-by-step plan is worthless without implementation. References Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment: Guide for Addressing Environmental Problems: About the Author Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology behavior and a master's in wildlife ecology. Accessed 20 September