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Risk assessment, ecological

Ecological Statistics

  1. David R. Fox,
  2. Richard S. Halbrook

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.var048.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Fox, D. R. and Halbrook, R. S. 2013. Risk assessment, ecological . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 5.

Author Information

  1. The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Ecological Risk Assessment is a process for identifying, estimating, assessing and communicating both the likelihood and consequences of adverse outcomes on the biotic environment. These adverse outcomes can be associated with both natural (eg. earthquakes, floods) and human (eg. chemical pollution, mining, logging) activities or events. The scale and complexity of ecological risk assessments can vary from recommendations based on simple descriptive studies to regulatory frameworks arising from the application of detailed scientific investigations and advanced statistical analyses. While the methods and procedures have evolved constantly over the last 80 years or so, there remain gaps in key understanding of ecosystem processes and parameterisation of models to represent them. This ‘model incertitude’ represents a significant source of uncertainty in the utility of ERA outputs and is the focus of more contemporary methods. This article briefly traces the origins or ERA, highlighting similarities and differences with other variants of risk assessment before discussing common paradigms and structured approaches to the conduct of an ERA.


  • risk;
  • uncertainty;
  • statistical models;
  • ecology;
  • environment;
  • hazard;
  • exposure;
  • toxicity measures