Lessons for ecological policy design: A case study of ecosystem management

Clark W, Jones DD, & Holling C (1979). Lessons for ecological policy design: A case study of ecosystem management. Ecological Modelling 7 (1): 1-53. DOI:10.1016/0304-3800(79)90008-5.

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Abstract

This paper explores the prospects for combining elements of the ecological and policy sciences to form a substantive and effective science of ecological policy design. This exploration is made through a case study whose specific focus is the management problem posed by competition between man and an insect (the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana) for utilization of coniferous forests in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. We used this case study as a practical testing ground in which we examined the relative strengths, weaknesses, and complementarities of various aspects of the policy design process. Where existing approaches proved wanting, we sought to develop alternatives and to test them in turn. In particular, we used a combination of simulation modeling and topological approaches to analyze the space-time dynamics of this ecosystem under a variety of natural and managed conditions. Explicit consideration was given to the development of invalidation tests for establishing the limits of model credibility. An array of economic, social, and environmental indicators was generated by the model, enabling managers and policy makers to evaluate meaningfully the performance of the system under a variety of management proposals. Simplified versions of the models were constructed to accomodate several optimization procedures, including dynamic programming, which produced trial policies for a range of possible objectives. These trial policies were tested in the more complex model versions and heuristically modified in dialogue with New Brunswick's forest managers. We explored the role of utility functions for simplifying and contrasting policy performance measures, paying special attention to questions of time preferences and discounting. Finally, the study was shaped by a commitment to transfer the various models and policy design capabilities from their original academic setting to the desks and minds of the practicing managers and politicians. An array of workshops, model gaming sessions, and nontraditional communication formats was developed and tested in pursuit of this goal.

This paper reports some specific management policies developed, and some general lessons for ecological policy design learned in the course of the study.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Resources and Environment Area (REN)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 09:45
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 10:02
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/12390

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