ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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An integrated decision-support approach in prioritizing risks of non-native species in the face of high uncertainty

Shuang Liu

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 2 - Law Building, Room 026
Date: 2012-07-11 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-17


When evaluating the risks of future invasions, we often have sparse information on the likelihood that a species will arrive, establish and spread in a new environment, and on the potential impacts should this occur. Conventional risk assessment, therefore, is limited in providing guidance in managing the risk of non-native species. However, risk management decisions must be made facing this high of uncertainties to avoid high and irreversible impacts.

We developed an integrated ecological economic modeling and structured decision making (SDM) approach to support group decision-making in risk prioritization, using an example of potential fire blight incursion that could impact Australian apple and pear industries. This innovative approach seeks to combine the advantages of dynamic modeling with the benefits of SDM in assessing and communicating uncertainty. The spatially-explicit model unveils the complexity of the socio-ecological system of biological invasion, with a scenario analysis designed to interactively communicate scientific uncertainty to decision-makers. The SDM provides a structured approach to identifying stakeholders’ key concerns in addressing economic, social, and environmental dimensions of non-native species risk explicitly. Functioned as a platform for risk communication, the SDM also offers an opportunity for diverse views to enter the decision-making process and for the negotiation of consensus building.