School Seminars and Colloquia

Learning to deal with non-probabilistic uncertainty in natural resource management

Complex Systems Seminar

by Prof. Mark Burgman

Institution: Environmental Science, University of Melbourne
Date: Fri 22nd April 2005
Time: 3:15 PM
Location: Seminar Room, Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, Ground Floor, ICT Building, 111 Barry St, Carlton

Abstract: Natural resource managers are plagued by severe uncertainties. Ecosystems
are complex, they experience novel human pressures, are poorly understood
and highly variable. Stakeholders hold competing positions and employ
different conceptual models of ecosystem processes, leading them to
different conclusions about the acceptability of human activities.
Generally, such differences are resolved politically. In many real-world
circumstances, science contributes little to decision-making. There have
been fledgling attempts to embody scientific uncertainties in decision
frameworks. Examples include stochastic utilities, fuzzy numbers,
multicriteria decision analysis and information gap theory. Natural
resource managers need mathematical help if they are not disregard
scientific evidence entirely. A framework is proposed that subordinates
expert judgement to the preferences to stakeholders, thereby providing it
a role in cross-examining stakeholder models.

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