Approaching the Problem of Ecological Valuation
Environmental decision making is a messy business. Risk managers and other environmental decision makers in the public and private sectors often must balance the interests of a variety of stakeholders. A particular management option may be costeffective but fail to accommodate the needs or desires of some set of stakeholders. A different option may appeal to a majority of stakeholders but place an unacceptably high burden (costs or other) on an individual, a group, or perhaps the public at large. Each option entails trade-offs with consequences that in an ideal state are understood and balanced. In this ideal, options would be selected that best reflect stakeholder desires and conform to scientific, technological, social, and legal facts and constraints (Figure 1.1). It is clear that to maximize effectiveness, the decisionmaking process should be supported by concepts, tools, and information that readily bring together all of the factors that enter into the decision.