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bioSUSTAINABILITY workshop: Sustainable use of biodiversity: decision-making under uncertainty, Montréal, 15th-16th July 2004.

Many important decisions affecting the long-term sustainability of biodiversity are made without full knowledge of all potential consequences. Decisions about land-use affecting the amount of remaining natural habitat, the introduction of a genetically modified organism, or the inadvertent introduction of an exotic species, all set in motion changes with potentially serious long-term consequences, many of which cannot be predicted. These are just a few examples of the many important decisions confronting society regarding biodiversity that are subject to profound uncertainty.

A two-day workshop was held at UQAM, Montréal, where a group of international participants from ecological, economic and social science disciplines discussed the problem of sustainable use of biodiversity under uncertainty. Using two case studies, marine protected areas and introduced species, genes, exotic and genetically modified organisms; participants discussed various approaches that could be used when dealing with uncertainty. For example, adaptive management, Bayesian approaches to decision-making, management of resilience, maximising expected returns either accounting or not accounting for risk aversion, multi-agent systems, option value approaches, the Precautionary Principle, and safe minimum standards.

Outputs:
• A set of guidelines for decision-making under uncertainty applied to the sustainable use of biodiversity;

• Short article targeted at Science or Nature outlining the above principles.

 

Last updated: 5 November 2004

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