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Selection: with tag uncertainty [at least 200 articles] 


Fears rise for US climate report as Trump officials take reins

Nature, Vol. 548, No. 7665. (1 August 2017), pp. 15-16,


Officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency are consulting global-warming sceptics as they weigh up a technical review. ...


Big names in statistics want to shake up much-maligned P value

Nature, Vol. 548, No. 7665. (26 July 2017), pp. 16-17,


One of scientists’ favourite statistics — the P value — should face tougher standards, say leading researchers. [Excerpt] Science is in the throes of a reproducibility crisis, and researchers, funders and publishers are increasingly worried that the scholarly literature is littered with unreliable results. Now, a group of 72 prominent researchers is targeting what they say is one cause of the problem: weak statistical standards of evidence for claiming new discoveries. [\n] In many disciplines the significance of findings is judged by ...


Little evidence for fire-adapted plant traits in Mediterranean climate regions

Trends in Plant Science, Vol. 16, No. 2. (20 February 2011), pp. 69-76,


As climate change increases vegetation combustibility, humans are impacted by wildfires through loss of lives and property, leading to an increased emphasis on prescribed burning practices to reduce hazards. A key and pervading concept accepted by most environmental managers is that combustible ecosystems have traditionally burnt because plants are fire adapted. In this opinion article, we explore the concept of plant traits adapted to fire in Mediterranean climates. In the light of major threats to biodiversity conservation, we recommend caution in ...


An empirical comparison of model validation techniques for defect prediction models

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 43, No. 1. (1 January 2017), pp. 1-18,


Defect prediction models help software quality assurance teams to allocate their limited resources to the most defect-prone modules. Model validation techniques, such as k -fold cross-validation, use historical data to estimate how well a model will perform in the future. However, little is known about how accurate the estimates of model validation techniques tend to be. In this paper, we investigate the bias and variance of model validation techniques in the domain of defect prediction. Analysis of 101 public defect datasets ...


Resampling methods for meta-model validation with recommendations for evolutionary computation

Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 20, No. 2. (16 February 2012), pp. 249-275,


Meta-modeling has become a crucial tool in solving expensive optimization problems. Much of the work in the past has focused on finding a good regression method to model the fitness function. Examples include classical linear regression, splines, neural networks, Kriging and support vector regression. This paper specifically draws attention to the fact that assessing model accuracy is a crucial aspect in the meta-modeling framework. Resampling strategies such as cross-validation, subsampling, bootstrapping, and nested resampling are prominent methods for model validation and ...


Combining multiple classifiers: an application using spatial and remotely sensed information for land cover type mapping

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 74, No. 3. (December 2000), pp. 545-556,


This article discusses two new methods for increasing the accuracy of classifiers used land cover mapping. The first method, called the product rule, is a simple and general method of combining two or more classification rules as a single rule. Stacked regression methods of combining classification rules are discussed and compared to the product rule. The second method of increasing classifier accuracy is a simple nonparametric classifier that uses spatial information for classification. Two data sets used for land cover mapping ...


Bagging ensemble selection for regression

In AI 2012: Advances in Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 7691 (2012), pp. 695-706,


Bagging ensemble selection (BES) is a relatively new ensemble learning strategy. The strategy can be seen as an ensemble of the ensemble selection from libraries of models (ES) strategy. Previous experimental results on binary classification problems have shown that using random trees as base classifiers, BES-OOB (the most successful variant of BES) is competitive with (and in many cases, superior to) other ensemble learning strategies, for instance, the original ES algorithm, stacking with linear regression, random forests or boosting. Motivated by ...


Bagging ensemble selection

In AI 2011: Advances in Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 7106 (2011), pp. 251-260,


Ensemble selection has recently appeared as a popular ensemble learning method, not only because its implementation is fairly straightforward, but also due to its excellent predictive performance on practical problems. The method has been highlighted in winning solutions of many data mining competitions, such as the Netflix competition, the KDD Cup 2009 and 2010, the UCSD FICO contest 2010, and a number of data mining competitions on the Kaggle platform. In this paper we present a novel variant: bagging ensemble selection. ...


When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 26. (27 June 2017), pp. 6734-6739,


[Significance] We examine why dominant/authoritarian leaders attract support despite the presence of other admired/respected candidates. Although evolutionary psychology supports both dominance and prestige as viable routes for attaining influential leadership positions, extant research lacks theoretical clarity explaining when and why dominant leaders are preferred. Across three large-scale studies we provide robust evidence showing how economic uncertainty affects individuals’ psychological feelings of lack of personal control, resulting in a greater preference for dominant leaders. This research offers important theoretical explanations for why, around ...


Global environmental issues and the emergence of Second Order Science

Vol. 12803 (1990)


[Excerpt: Introduction] The fundamental achievements of science, like those of all creative activities, have a timeless quality. The social activity of science, like any other, evolves in response to its changing circumstances, in its objects, methods and social functions. In the high Middle Ages, the independence of secular learning was established in the universities, removed from the monasteries; and the boundary between the sacred and private on the one hand, and the secular and public on the other, was set for ...


Fuzziness vs. probability

International Journal of General Systems, Vol. 17, No. 2-3. (June 1990), pp. 211-240,


Fuzziness is explored as an alternative to randomness for describing uncertainty. The new sets-as-points geometric view of fuzzy sets is developed. This view identifies a fuzzy set with a point in a unit hypercube and a nonfuzzy set with a vertex of the cube. Paradoxes of two-valued logic and set theory, such as Russell's paradox, correspond to the midpoint of the fuzzy cube. The fundamental questions of fuzzy theory—How fuzzy is a fuzzy set? How much is one fuzzy set a ...


Building confidence in climate model projections: an analysis of inferences from fit

WIREs Clim Change, Vol. 8, No. 3. (1 May 2017), n/a,


Climate model projections are used to inform policy decisions and constitute a major focus of climate research. Confidence in climate projections relies on the adequacy of climate models for those projections. The question of how to argue for the adequacy of models for climate projections has not gotten sufficient attention in the climate modeling community. The most common way to evaluate a climate model is to assess in a quantitative way degrees of ‘model fit’; that is, how well model results ...


Novel climates, no-analog communities, and ecological surprises

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Vol. 5, No. 9. (November 2007), pp. 475-482,


No-analog communities (communities that are compositionally unlike any found today) occurred frequently in the past and will develop in the greenhouse world of the future. The well documented no-analog plant communities of late-glacial North America are closely linked to “novel” climates also lacking modern analogs, characterized by high seasonality of temperature. In climate simulations for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change A2 and B1 emission scenarios, novel climates arise by 2100 AD, primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. These future novel ...


Multispecies coalescent delimits structure, not species

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 7. (14 February 2017), pp. 1607-1612,


[Significance] Despite its widespread application to the species delimitation problem, our study demonstrates that what the multispecies coalescent actually delimits is structure. The current implementations of species delimitation under the multispecies coalescent do not provide any way for distinguishing between structure due to population-level processes and that due to species boundaries. The overinflation of species due to the misidentification of general genetic structure for species boundaries has profound implications for our understanding of the generation and dynamics of biodiversity, because any ecological ...


A review of the combination among global change factors in forests, shrublands and pastures of the Mediterranean Region: beyond drought effects

Global and Planetary Change, Vol. 148 (January 2017), pp. 42-54,


[Highlights] [::] Different global change factors combine causing unprecedented ecological effects. [::] Much more complex interactions arise when combinations occur together. [::] Drought should be considered when designing and applying management policies. [::] Conserving Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems is a collective effort. [Abstract] Climate change, alteration of atmospheric composition, land abandonment in some areas and land use intensification in others, wildfires and biological invasions threaten forests, shrublands and pastures all over the world. However, the impacts of the combinations between global change factors are not well understood despite ...


Viewing forests through the lens of complex systems science

Ecosphere, Vol. 5, No. 1. (January 2014), art1,


Complex systems science provides a transdisciplinary framework to study systems characterized by (1) heterogeneity, (2) hierarchy, (3) self-organization, (4) openness, (5) adaptation, (6) memory, (7) non-linearity, and (8) uncertainty. Complex systems thinking has inspired both theory and applied strategies for improving ecosystem resilience and adaptability, but applications in forest ecology and management are just beginning to emerge. We review the properties of complex systems using four well-studied forest biomes (temperate, boreal, tropical and Mediterranean) as examples. The lens of complex systems ...


From management to stewardship: viewing forests as complex adaptive systems in an uncertain world

Conservation Letters, Vol. 8, No. 5. (September 2015), pp. 368-377,


The world's forests and forestry sector are facing unprecedented biological, political, social, and climatic challenges. The development of appropriate, novel forest management and restoration approaches that adequately consider uncertainty and adaptability are hampered by a continuing focus on production of a few goods or objectives, strong control of forest structure and composition, and most importantly the absence of a global scientific framework and long-term vision. Ecosystem-based approaches represent a step in the right direction, but are limited in their ability to ...


The ability of climate envelope models to predict the effect of climate change on species distributions

Global Change Biology, Vol. 12, No. 12. (1 December 2006), pp. 2272-2281,


Climate envelope models (CEMs) have been used to predict the distribution of species under current, past, and future climatic conditions by inferring a species' environmental requirements from localities where it is currently known to occur. CEMs can be evaluated for their ability to predict current species distributions but it is unclear whether models that are successful in predicting current distributions are equally successful in predicting distributions under different climates (i.e. different regions or time periods). We evaluated the ability of CEMs ...


Ecological responses to recent climate change

Nature, Vol. 416 (2002), pp. 389-395,


There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological ...


Keep it complex

Nature, Vol. 468, No. 7327. (23 December 2010), pp. 1029-1031,


When knowledge is uncertain, experts should avoid pressures to simplify their advice. Render decision-makers accountable for decisions, says Andy Stirling. ...


Sample selection bias and presence-only distribution models: implications for background and pseudo-absence data

Ecological Applications, Vol. 19, No. 1. (January 2009), pp. 181-197,


Most methods for modeling species distributions from occurrence records require additional data representing the range of environmental conditions in the modeled region. These data, called background or pseudo-absence data, are usually drawn at random from the entire region, whereas occurrence collection is often spatially biased toward easily accessed areas. Since the spatial bias generally results in environmental bias, the difference between occurrence collection and background sampling may lead to inaccurate models. To correct the estimation, we propose choosing background data with ...


Model-based uncertainty in species range prediction

Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 33, No. 10. (October 2006), pp. 1704-1711,


[Aim]  Many attempts to predict the potential range of species rely on environmental niche (or ‘bioclimate envelope’) modelling, yet the effects of using different niche-based methodologies require further investigation. Here we investigate the impact that the choice of model can have on predictions, identify key reasons why model output may differ and discuss the implications that model uncertainty has for policy-guiding applications. [Location]  The Western Cape of South Africa. [Methods]  We applied nine of the most widely used modelling techniques to model potential ...


Predicting the impacts of climate change on the distribution of species: are bioclimate envelope models useful?

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 12, No. 5. (1 September 2003), pp. 361-371,


Modelling strategies for predicting the potential impacts of climate change on the natural distribution of species have often focused on the characterization of a species’ bioclimate envelope. A number of recent critiques have questioned the validity of this approach by pointing to the many factors other than climate that play an important part in determining species distributions and the dynamics of distribution changes. Such factors include biotic interactions, evolutionary change and dispersal ability. This paper reviews and evaluates criticisms of bioclimate ...


Improving generalized regression analysis for the spatial prediction of forest communities

Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 33, No. 10. (October 2006), pp. 1729-1749,


Abstract Aim  This study used data from temperate forest communities to assess: (1) five different stepwise selection methods with generalized additive models, (2) the effect of weighting absences to ensure a prevalence of 0.5, (3) the effect of limiting absences beyond the environmental envelope defined by presences, (4) four different methods for incorporating spatial autocorrelation, and (5) the effect of integrating an interaction factor defined by a regression tree on the residuals of an initial environmental model. Location  State of Vaud, ...


Modeling the probability of resource use: the effect of, and dealing with, detecting a species imperfectly

Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 70, No. 2. (1 April 2006), pp. 367-374,[367:mtporu];2


Resource-selection probability functions and occupancy models are powerful methods of identifying areas within a landscape that are highly used by a species. One common design/analysis method for estimation of a resource-selection probability function is to classify a sample of units as used or unused and estimate the probability of use as a function of independent variables using, for example, logistic regression. This method requires that resource units are correctly classified as unused (i.e., the species is never undetected in a used ...


The importance of phenology for the evaluation of impact of climate change on growth of boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forests ecosystems: an overview

International Journal of Biometeorology, Vol. 44, No. 2. (2000), pp. 67-75,


An overview is presented of the phenological models relevant for boreal coniferous, temperate-zone deciduous and Mediterranean coniferous forest ecosystems. The phenology of the boreal forests is mainly driven by temperature, affecting the timing of the start of the growing season and thereby its duration, and the level of frost hardiness and thereby the reduction of foliage area and photosynthetic capacity by severe frost events. The phenology of temperate-zone forests is also mainly driven by temperature. Since temperate-zone forests are mostly mixed-species ...


Estimating abundance from repeated presence-absence data or point counts

Ecology, Vol. 84, No. 3. (March 2003), pp. 777-790,[0777:eafrpa];2


We describe an approach for estimating occupancy rate or the proportion of area occupied when heterogeneity in detection probability exists as a result of variation in abundance of the organism under study. The key feature of such problems, which we exploit, is that variation in abundance induces variation in detection probability. Thus, heterogeneity in abundance can be modeled as heterogeneity in detection probability. Moreover, this linkage between heterogeneity in abundance and heterogeneity in detection probability allows one to exploit a heterogeneous ...


Soil erosion assessment - Mind the gap

Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 43, No. 24. (28 December 2016), 2016GL071480,


Accurate assessment of erosion rates remains an elusive problem because soil loss is strongly nonunique with respect to the main drivers. In addressing the mechanistic causes of erosion responses, we discriminate between macroscale effects of external factors—long studied and referred to as “geomorphic external variability”, and microscale effects, introduced as “geomorphic internal variability.” The latter source of erosion variations represents the knowledge gap, an overlooked but vital element of geomorphic response, significantly impacting the low predictability skill of deterministic models at ...


BIOMOD - A platform for ensemble forecasting of species distributions

Ecography, Vol. 32, No. 3. (1 June 2009), pp. 369-373,


BIOMOD is a computer platform for ensemble forecasting of species distributions, enabling the treatment of a range of methodological uncertainties in models and the examination of species-environment relationships. BIOMOD includes the ability to model species distributions with several techniques, test models with a wide range of approaches, project species distributions into different environmental conditions (e.g. climate or land use change scenarios) and dispersal functions. It allows assessing species temporal turnover, plot species response curves, and test the strength of species interactions ...


Multi-dimensional weighted median: the module "wmedian" of the Mastrave modelling library

In Semantic Array Programming with Mastrave - Introduction to Semantic Computational Modelling (2012)


Weighted median (WM) filtering is a well known technique for dealing with noisy images and a variety of WM-based algorithms have been proposed as effective ways for reducing uncertainties or reconstructing degraded signals by means of available information with heterogeneous reliability. Here a generalized module for applying weighted median filtering to multi-dimensional arrays of information with associated multi-dimensional arrays of corresponding weights is presented. Weights may be associated to single elements or to groups of elements along given dimensions of the ...


Would climate change drive species out of reserves? An assessment of existing reserve-selection methods

Global Change Biology, Vol. 10, No. 9. (September 2004), pp. 1618-1626,


Concern for climate change has not yet been integrated in protocols for reserve selection. However if climate changes as projected, there is a possibility that current reserve-selection methods might provide solutions that are inadequate to ensure species' long-term persistence within reserves. We assessed, for the first time, the ability of existing reserve-selection methods to secure species in a climate-change context. Six methods using a different combination of criteria (representation, suitability and reserve clustering) are compared. The assessment is carried out using ...


The global methane budget 2000–2012

Earth System Science Data, Vol. 8, No. 2. (12 December 2016), pp. 697-751,


The global methane (CH4) budget is becoming an increasingly important component for managing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. This relevance, due to a shorter atmospheric lifetime and a stronger warming potential than carbon dioxide, is challenged by the still unexplained changes of atmospheric CH4 over the past decade. Emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-induced greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Two major difficulties in reducing uncertainties come from the large variety ...


Five selfish reasons to work reproducibly

Genome Biology, Vol. 16, No. 1. (8 December 2015), 274,


And so, my fellow scientists: ask not what you can do for reproducibility; ask what reproducibility can do for you! Here, I present five reasons why working reproducibly pays off in the long run and is in the self-interest of every ambitious, career-oriented scientist. [Excerpt] [::Reproducibility: what's in it for me?] In this article, I present five reasons why working reproducibly pays off in the long run and is in the self-interest of every ambitious, career-oriented scientist. [::] Reason number 1: reproducibility helps to avoid ...


Statistical analysis

In Science: editorial policies (2016)


[Excerpt: Statistical analysis] Generally, authors should describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the results. [::] Data pre-processing steps such as transformations, re-coding, re-scaling, normalization, truncation, and handling of below detectable level readings and outliers should be fully described; any removal or modification of data values must be fully acknowledged and justified. [::] [...] [::] The number of sampled units, N, upon which each reported statistic is based must be stated. [::] For continuous ...


Welcome to postnormal times

Futures, Vol. 42, No. 5. (20 June 2010), pp. 435-444,


All that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, the in-between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really makes sense. To have any notion of a viable future, we must grasp the significance of this period of transition which is characterised by three c's: complexity, chaos and contradictions. These forces propel and sustain postnormal times leading to uncertainty and different types of ignorance that make decision-making problematic and increase risks ...


Fire effects on soils: the human dimension

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 371, No. 1696. (05 June 2016), 20150171,


Soils are among the most valuable non-renewable resources on the Earth. They support natural vegetation and human agro-ecosystems, represent the largest terrestrial organic carbon stock, and act as stores and filters for water. Mankind has impacted on soils from its early days in many different ways, with burning being the first human perturbation at landscape scales. Fire has long been used as a tool to fertilize soils and control plant growth, but it can also substantially change vegetation, enhance soil erosion ...


Uncertainties in projecting future changes in atmospheric rivers and their impacts on heavy precipitation over Europe

Journal of Climate, Vol. 29, No. 18. (24 June 2016), pp. 6711-6726,


This study investigates the North Atlantic atmospheric rivers (ARs) making landfall over western Europe in the present and future climate from the multimodel ensemble of phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Overall, CMIP5 captures the seasonal and spatial variations of historical landfalling AR days, with the large intermodel variability strongly correlated with the intermodel spread of historical near-surface westerly jet position. Under representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5), AR frequency is projected to increase significantly by the end of ...


Defining pyromes and global syndromes of fire regimes

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 16. (16 April 2013), pp. 6442-6447,


Fire is a ubiquitous component of the Earth system that is poorly understood. To date, a global-scale understanding of fire is largely limited to the annual extent of burning as detected by satellites. This is problematic because fire is multidimensional, and focus on a single metric belies its complexity and importance within the Earth system. To address this, we identified five key characteristics of fire regimes—size, frequency, intensity, season, and extent—and combined new and existing global datasets to represent each. We ...


Harmonized classification scheme of fire causes in the EU adopted for the European Fire Database of EFFIS



The information on the causes of forest fires is of paramount importance to support the environmental and civil protection policies and design appropriate prevention measure. At the European level a simple common scheme with 4 fire causes classes (deliberate, accident/negligence, natural and unknown) has been used to record information on fire causes since 1992. European countries use national schemes which in most cases are much more detailed than the simple 4 common classes, but they are not harmonized and detailed cross ...


The trouble with negative emissions

Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), pp. 182-183,


In December 2015, member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement, which aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement requires that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission sources and sinks are balanced by the second half of this century. Because some nonzero sources are unavoidable, this leads to the abstract concept of “negative emissions,” the ...


Globally effective questioning in the Analytic Hierarchy Process

European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 48, No. 1. (September 1990), pp. 88-97,


A drawback in the use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is the effort required to complete all pairwise comparisons in large hierarchies. The Incomplete Pairwise Comparison (IPC) technique developed by Harker [1,2] aims at reducing this effort by ordering the questions in decreasing informational value and by stopping the process when added value of questions decreases below a certain level. This paper proposes further opportunities for effort reduction through globally effective elicitation process. A simple example demonstrates impressive savings in ...


Review of the main developments in the analytic hierarchy process

Expert Systems with Applications (May 2011),


[Abstract] In this paper the authors review the developments of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) since its inception. The focus of this paper is a neutral review on the methodological developments rather than reporting its applications that have appeared since its introduction. In particular, we discuss problem modelling, pair-wise comparisons, judgement scales, derivation methods, consistency indices, incomplete matrix, synthesis of the weights, sensitivity analysis and group decisions. All have been important areas of research in AHP. [Highlights] [::] Methodological developments of the analytic hierarchy ...


Towards a web-based collaborative weighting method in project

In IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (2002), 6,


For the purpose of a product design or a project in general, weighting a set of comparable criteria has been proven to be of utmost importance (e.g. weighting product functions in value analysis - VA -, and allocating a budget in a Design-To-Cost project). Moreover the weighting problem is related to basic properties in the field of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) through the notions of ordinal transitivity and rationality in the designers' mind. How should designers or project agents decide in ...


Risk and resilience lessons from Venice

Environment Systems and Decisions, Vol. 34, No. 3. (2014), pp. 378-382,


In the history of disasters in Venice, there are implications for modern times in terms of complex systems management and emerging threats, in particular from examples of risk management and resilience achieved by the Venetian state during outbreaks of the plague. In fourteenth century Venice, risk assessment the way we practice it today would fail to provide meaningful recommendations to reduce the casualty rate of the plague epidemic because the cause and transmission of the disease was not understood. Instead, a ...


Encourage governments to heed scientific advice

Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7622. (28 September 2016), pp. 587-587,


To stop evidence-based policy losing its clout, researchers need to engage with policymakers and understand their needs, says Bill Colglazier. [Excerpt] [...] Most governments do want to consider and harness science, technology and innovation. [...] Why, then, is science losing its clout in the current political debates? In my view, the explanation is relatively simple. In the short term, politics, or more precisely value judgements, trump science. This is especially true when there are scientific uncertainties. [\n] Value judgements come in three varieties. ...


Decreasing fires in Mediterranean Europe

PLoS ONE, Vol. 11, No. 3. (16 March 2016), e0150663,


Forest fires are a serious environmental hazard in southern Europe. Quantitative assessment of recent trends in fire statistics is important for assessing the possible shifts induced by climate and other environmental/socioeconomic changes in this area. Here we analyse recent fire trends in Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy and Greece, building on a homogenized fire database integrating official fire statistics provided by several national/EU agencies. During the period 1985-2011, the total annual burned area (BA) displayed a general decreasing trend, with the ...


More accountability for big-data algorithms

Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7621. (21 September 2016), pp. 449-449,


To avoid bias and improve transparency, algorithm designers must make data sources and profiles public. [Excerpt] [...] Algorithms, from the simplest to the most complex, follow sets of instructions or learn to accomplish a goal. In principle, they could help to make impartial analyses and decisions by reducing human biases and prejudices. But there is growing concern that they risk doing the opposite, and will replicate and exacerbate human failings [...]. And in an era of powerful computers, machine learning and big data, ...


The precision problem in conservation and restoration

Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2016),


Within the varied contexts of environmental policy, conservation of imperilled species populations, and restoration of damaged habitats, an emphasis on idealized optimal conditions has led to increasingly specific targets for management. Overly-precise conservation targets can reduce habitat variability at multiple scales, with unintended consequences for future ecological resilience. We describe this dilemma in the context of endangered species management, stream restoration, and climate-change adaptation. Inappropriate application of conservation targets can be expensive, with marginal conservation benefit. Reduced habitat variability can limit ...


Recent advances and remaining uncertainties in resolving past and future climate effects on global fire activity

Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 2, No. 1. (2016), pp. 1-14,


Fire is an integral component of the Earth system that will critically affect how terrestrial carbon budgets and living systems respond to climate change. Paleo and observational records document robust positive relationships between fire activity and aridity in many parts of the world on interannual to millennial timescales. Observed increases in fire activity and aridity in many areas over the past several decades motivate curiosity as to the degree to which anthropogenic climate change will alter global fire regimes and subsequently ...


Progress in wilderness fire science: embracing complexity

Journal of Forestry (May 2016), pp. 373-383,


Wilderness has played an invaluable role in the development of wildland fire science. Since Agee's review of the subject 15 years ago, tremendous progress has been made in the development of models and data, in understanding the complexity of wildland fire as a landscape process, and in appreciating the social factors that influence the use of wilderness fire. Regardless of all we have learned, though, the reality is that fire remains an extraordinarily complex process with variable effects that create essential ...

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