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Ecological Risk-O-Meter: a risk assessor and manager software tool for better decision making in ecosystems

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  • This article is published in Environmetrics as a special issue on Modern quantitative methods for environmental risk assessment, edited by Lelys Bravo de Guenni, Cómputo Científico y Estadística, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Valle de Sartenejas. Carretera Baruta-Hoyo de La Puerta, Caracas, Miranda 1080-A, Venezuela, and Susan J. Simmons, Mathematics and Statistics, UNCW, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403, U.S.A.

Dr. M. Sahinoglu, PO Box 244023, Informatics Institute, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL, 36124-4023, USA. E-mail: mesa@aum.edu

Abstract

Increased awareness of environmental issues and their effects on ecological systems and human health drive an interest in developing computational methods to reduce detrimental consequences. For example, there are concerns regarding chlorofluorocarbons and their impact on stratospheric ozone, radon and its effect on human health, coal mining and effects on habitat loss, as well as numerous other issues. However, these issues do not exist in a vacuum nor occur just one at a time. There is a need to assess social and ecological risks comprehensively and account for numerous, inter-related potential risks. Given limited funds available for addressing these issues, how can spending for purposes of environmental and ecological mitigation be optimized? What is the magnitude of overall ecological risk for a given region? Novel software, the “Ecological Risk-o-Meter”, addresses these questions and concerns. The software tool not only assesses the current environmental and ecological risks, but also takes into account potential solutions and provides guidance as to how spending can be optimized to reducing overall environmental risk. We demonstrate this new tool and show how to optimize the costs of risk reduction in recursive cycles based on feedbacks. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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