Embracing uncertainty in applied ecology

E. J. Milner-Gulland, Katriona Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Applied ecologists often face uncertainty that hinders effective decision-making. Common traps that may catch the unwary are: ignoring uncertainty, acknowledging uncertainty but ploughing on, focussing on trivial uncertainties, believing your models, and unclear objectives. We integrate research insights and examples from a wide range of applied ecological fields to illustrate advances that are generally underused, but could facilitate ecologists’ ability to plan and execute research to support management. Recommended approaches to avoid uncertainty traps are: embracing models, using decision theory, using models more effectively, thinking experimentally, and being realistic about uncertainty. Synthesis and applications. Applied ecologists can become more effective at informing management by using approaches that explicitly take account of uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2063-2068
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology

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