This book is a report on our efforts to develop an adaptive approach to environmental impact assessment and management. It is written for policy makers and managers who are dissatisfied with the traditional procedures and principles and who seek some effective and realistic alternatives.
The study was initiated by a workshop convened in early 1974 by SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment). The workshop wasn’t attended by individuals with an often bewildering range of experience, concerns, and styles – precisely those ingredients that are so useful at the very start of an analysis for defining the full range of issues and possibilities. Three particularly relevant questions emerged (Munn, 1975):
1. What, if anything, does our understanding of the nature and behavior of ecological systems have to say about the issues, limitations, and potential of environmental assessment?
2. What can be done to bridge the abyss presently separating technical impact assessment studies from actual environmental planning and decision making?
3. To what extent, and under what circumstances, do present methods provide useful predictions of impacts?