Published on the Web 3/5/2008.
The strengths of the ecological risk assessment process: linking science to decision making†
Article first published online: 5 NOV 2009
Copyright © 2008 SETAC
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Volume 4, Issue 3, pages 299–305, July 2008
How to Cite
Barnthouse, L. (2008), The strengths of the ecological risk assessment process: linking science to decision making. Integr Environ Assess Manag, 4: 299–305. doi: 10.1897/IEAM_2007-065.1
- Issue published online: 5 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 5 NOV 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 DEC 2007
- Manuscript Received: 21 SEP 2007
- Ecological risk assessment;
- Environmental regulation;
- Environmental restoration
Twenty-five years ago, ecological assessments were being performed by different organizations, using different principles and methods, with little or no communication between different groups and no means for reconciling conflicts and inconsistencies between assessment methodologies. The recognition by practitioners of environmental assessment of the need for a unifying conceptual framework stimulated the development of today's Framework and Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). This paper discusses the success of ERA as a process for linking environmental science to decision making, using 3 recently published case studies involving establishment of baseline ecological risks at a contaminated site, probabilistic assessment of regional risks of pesticide use, and regulation of pharmaceutical product manufacture. Some promising future directions in ERA are briefly discussed, and 3 critical challenges to future success are identified.