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Economic value of ecological information in ecosystem-based natural resource management depends on exploitation history

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 7. (13 February 2018), pp. 1658-1663,


[Significance] Natural resource management is evolving toward a more holistic approach that acknowledges ecological connections among species. To date, there has been no demonstration of where or when this approach provides economic benefits. Here we find only modest economic benefits from having detailed knowledge of ecological linkages between species. However, the costs of incomplete or incorrect knowledge are unevenly distributed across user groups and are greater after historical overfishing. The ecosystem approach to natural resource management might therefore provide the greatest benefit ...


Discounting... on stilts

The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 1. (2007), pp. 119-138


[Excerpt] Jeremy Bentham famously described the concept of natural rights as “nonsense upon stilts.” This Response argues that cost-benefit analysis (CBA)—a contemporary applied version of Bentham’s utilitarianism for public policy analysis—is also nonsensical in that CBA purports to resolve questions, the answers to which have already been subsumed within the framework’s architecture. In particular, CBA subsumes vital questions of intergenerational equity through its use of an exponential discount factor to adjust future costs and benefits to a present value. This discounting procedure has the practical effect of dramatically diminishing the apparent ...


The limits of cost/benefit analysis when disasters loom

Global Policy, Vol. 7 (May 2016), pp. 56-66,


[Abstract] Advances in estimating the costs and benefits of climate change policies are a welcome development, but a full-scale cost/benefit analysis that seeks to reduce complex value trade-offs to a single metric of net benefit maximization hides many important public policy issues, especially for disasters and catastrophes that are large, discontinuous, irreversible and uncertain. States should obtain public input on such policies. These policies involve value trade-offs that can be informed by technocratic estimates of costs, benefits and risk. However, such analyses ...


The science of value: economic expertise and the valuation of human life in US federal regulatory agencies

Social Studies of Science, Vol. 47, No. 4. (21 March 2017), pp. 441-465,


This article explores efforts to apply economic logic to human life. To do so, it looks at federal regulatory agencies, where government planners and policy makers have spent over a century trying to devise a scientifically sound way to measure the economic value of lives lost or saved by public programs. The methods they have drawn on, however, have changed drastically in the past 40 years, shifting from a ‘human capital’ approach based on models of economic productivity and producing relatively low ...


The concept of potential natural vegetation: an epitaph?

Journal of Vegetation Science, Vol. 21, No. 6. (December 2010), pp. 1172-1178,


We discuss the usefulness of the concept of Potential Natural Vegetation (PNV), which describes the expected state of mature vegetation in the absence of human intervention. We argue that it is impossible to model PNV because of (i) the methodological problems associated to its definition and (ii) the issues related to the ecosystems dynamics.We conclude that the approach to characterizing PNV is unrealistic and provides scenarios with limited predictive power. In places with a long-term human history, interpretations of PNV need ...


Legal threat exposes gaps in climate-change planning

Nature, Vol. 548, No. 7669. (29 August 2017), pp. 508-509,


Australian lawsuit highlights how difficult it is to turn global warming data into useful advice. [Excerpt] [...] Climate scientist Andy Pitman at the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science in Sydney, Australia, says that researchers have been warning companies and governments for years about the need to invest in climate modelling and the related field of climate services, which provides forecasts and other information to public and private users. [...] To be useful, he says, the forecasts would need to be ...


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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


The International Plant Sentinel Network: a tool for regional and national plant protection organizations

EPPO Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 1. (April 2016), pp. 156-162,


[Excerpt:Introduction] A 2011 global survey of botanic gardens and arboreta, which included 204 respondents from 146 institutes, revealed that the botanic garden community has the potential to play a significant role in safeguarding plant health. However, responding institutes cited a lack of available training, resources and coordination to support any such work (Kramer & Hird 2011). Since its launch in November 2013, the International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) has been working to provide this support and illustrate the usefulness of such a ...


Brexit watch: scientists grapple with the fallout



Xenophobia and mobility fears among issues facing researchers two weeks on. [Excerpt] Two weeks after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the future remains opaque. Concerns within the research community are particularly intense for those who rely on the EU for funding, or who have the right to work in the United Kingdom only because they are citizens of other EU countries. Here is Nature’s selection of the week’s post-Brexit science news. [\n] [...] ...


Seven shortfalls that beset large-scale knowledge of biodiversity

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Vol. 46, No. 1. (2015), pp. 523-549,


Ecologists and evolutionary biologists are increasingly using big-data approaches to tackle questions at large spatial, taxonomic, and temporal scales. However, despite recent efforts to gather two centuries of biodiversity inventories into comprehensive databases, many crucial research questions remain unanswered. Here, we update the concept of knowledge shortfalls and review the tradeoffs between generality and uncertainty. We present seven key shortfalls of current biodiversity data. Four previously proposed shortfalls pinpoint knowledge gaps for species taxonomy (Linnean), distribution (Wallacean), abundance (Prestonian), and evolutionary ...


(INRMM-MiD internal record) List of keywords of the INRMM meta-information database - part 37

(February 2014)
Keywords: inrmm-list-of-tags   tropics   trunk-sucker   tsuga-canadensis   tsuga-chinensis   tsuga-heterophylla   tsuga-mertensiana   tsuga-spp   tundra   turing-completeness   turkey   tuscany   tuta-absoluta   twig-dieback   two-dimensional-gas-chromatography   two-stage-peer-review   udig   ukraine   ulex-europaeus   ulmus   ulmus-americana   ulmus-carpinifolia   ulmus-glabra   ulmus-laevis   ulmus-minor   ulmus-parvifolia   ulmus-procera   ulmus-pumila   ulmus-rubra   ulmus-spp   ulmus-thomasii   umbellularia-californica   umbrella-species   uncertainty   uncertainty-propagation   underfitting   understorey   understorey-species   undisturbed-habitat   uneven-aged-forest   unexpected-effect   ungulate   ungulate-browsing   united-kingdom   united-states   universal-approximation   unknown   unrealistic-expectations   unsupervised-training   upper-treeline   uprooting   urban-areas   urban-forest   urban-habitats   urban-trees   urgent-hpc   url-decay   urocerus-gigas   ursus-arctos   usda   ushahidi   usle   usped   utilization   vaccination   vaccinium-myrtillus   vaccinium-oxycoccos   vaccinium-spp   vaccinium-uliginosum   vaccinium-vitis-idaea   vaccinum-myrtillus   validation   valsa-melanodiscus   variability   variable-selection   variance-partitioning   variation   vascular-plants   vascular-system   vauable   vegetation   vegetation-buffer   vegetation-changes   vegetation-composition   vegetation-diversity   vegetation-dynamics   vegetation-types   vegetative-propagation   veneer   venice   verification-vs-corroboration   veronica-officinalis   vertebrate   verticillium-dahliae   vgi   viburnum-lantana   viburnum-opalus   viburnum-opulus   viburnum-spp   vietnam  


List of indexed keywords within the transdisciplinary set of domains which relate to the Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management (INRMM). In particular, the list of keywords maps the semantic tags in the INRMM Meta-information Database (INRMM-MiD). [\n] The INRMM-MiD records providing this list are accessible by the special tag: inrmm-list-of-tags ( ). ...


Infants ask for help when they know they don’t know

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 13. (29 March 2016), pp. 3492-3496,


[Significance] Although many animals have been shown to monitor their own uncertainty, only humans seem to have the ability to explicitly communicate their uncertainty to others. It remains unknown whether this ability is present early in development, or whether it only emerges later alongside language development. Here, using a nonverbal memory-monitoring paradigm, we show that infants are able to strategically ask for help to avoid making mistakes. These findings reveal that infants are capable of monitoring and communicating their own uncertainty. We ...


Europe’s forest management did not mitigate climate warming

Science, Vol. 351, No. 6273. (2016), pp. 597-600,


[Europe's managed forests contribute to warming] For most of the past 250 years, surprisingly it seems that Europe's managed forests have been a net source of carbon, contributing to climate warming rather than mitigating it. Naudts et al. reconstructed the history of forest management in Europe in the context of a land-atmosphere model. The release of carbon otherwise stored in litter, dead wood, and soil carbon pools in managed forests was one key factor contributing to climate warming. Second, the conversion of ...


Biodiversity management in the face of climate change: A review of 22 years of recommendations

Biological Conservation, Vol. 142, No. 1. (21 January 2009), pp. 14-32,


Climate change creates new challenges for biodiversity conservation. Species ranges and ecological dynamics are already responding to recent climate shifts, and current reserves will not continue to support all species they were designed to protect. These problems are exacerbated by other global changes. Scholarly articles recommending measures to adapt conservation to climate change have proliferated over the last 22 years. We systematically reviewed this literature to explore what potential solutions it has identified and what consensus and direction it provides to ...


The true loss caused by biodiversity offsets

Biological Conservation, Vol. 192 (December 2015), pp. 552-559,


Biodiversity offsets aim to achieve a “no-net-loss” of biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services due to development. The “no-net-less” objective assumes that the multi-dimensional values of biodiversity in complex ecosystems can be isolated from their spatial, evolutionary, historical, social, and moral context. We examine the irreplaceability of ecosystems, the limits of restoration, and the environmental values that claim to be compensated through ecosystem restoration. We discuss multiple ecological, instrumental, and non-instrumental values of ecosystems that should be considered in offsetting calculations. Considering ...


Indicators for ecosystem services

In OpenNESS Ecosystem Service Reference Book (2015)
edited by M. Potschin, K. Jax


[Excerpt: Indicators in a policy context] The main purpose of using indicators in a policy context is to provide messages to stakeholders and policy actors to achieve better (more informed) governance. This involves indicators being used for normative goals in addition to descriptive purposes (Heink and Kowarik, 2010). Hence, not all indicators used are solely science-based. Several major factors that determine the “usefulness” and “success” of an indicator are outside of the scope of science. [\n] The use of scientific information for policy ...

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Mathematical models for emerging disease

Science, Vol. 346, No. 6215. (12 December 2014), pp. 1294-1295,


It has been nearly 25 years since the publication of Infectious Disease of Humans (1), the “vade mecum” of mathematical modeling of infectious disease; the proliferation of epidemiological careers that it initiated is now in its fourth generation. Epidemiological models have proved very powerful in shaping health policy discussions. The complex interactions that lead to pathogen (and pest) outbreaks make it necessary to use models to provide quantitative insights into the counterintuitive outcomes that are the rule of most nonlinear systems. ...


Life cycle impacts of forest management and wood utilization on carbon mitigation: knowns and unknowns

Carbon Management, Vol. 2, No. 3. (June 2011), pp. 303-333,


This review on research on life cycle carbon accounting examines the complexities in accounting for carbon emissions given the many different ways that wood is used. Recent objectives to increase the use of renewable fuels have raised policy questions, with respect to the sustainability of managing our forests as well as the impacts of how best to use wood from our forests. There has been general support for the benefits of sustainably managing forests for carbon mitigation as expressed by the ...


Fat-Tailed Uncertainty in the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change

Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Vol. 5, No. 2. (01 July 2011), pp. 275-292,


In this article, I revisit some basic issues concerning structural uncertainty and catastrophic climate change. My target audience here are general economists, so this article could also be viewed as a somewhat less technical exposition that supplements my previous work. Using empirical examples, I argue that it is implausible that low-probability, high-negative impact events would not much influence an economic analysis of climate change. I then try to integrate the empirical examples and the theory together into a unified package with ...


Allocating monitoring effort in the face of unknown unknowns

Ecology Letters, Vol. 13, No. 11. (1 November 2010), pp. 1325-1337,


Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 1325–1337 Abstract There is a growing view that to make efficient use of resources, ecological monitoring should be hypothesis-driven and targeted to address specific management questions. ‘Targeted’ monitoring has been contrasted with other approaches in which a range of quantities are monitored in case they exhibit an alarming trend or provide ad hoc ecological insights. The second form of monitoring, described as surveillance, has been criticized because it does not usually aim to discern between competing hypotheses, ...


Unlikely Yet Pivotal Long Dispersals

Science, Vol. 344, No. 6180. (11 April 2014), pp. 153-154,


[Excerpt] Long-distance dispersal can enable a species to colonize new areas far from its range, with potentially drastic consequences for ecology, evolution, and biogeography. In The Monkey's Voyage, Alan de Queiroz argues that long-distance dispersals are necessary to explaining the evolutionary histories of many animals and plants across the world. Although Charles Darwin (1) and Alfred Russel Wallace (2) came to the same conclusion over a century ago, the dispersalist view has long been strongly resisted. In particular, the acceptance of ...


Loss and damage: when adaptation is not enough

UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service, Vol. 2014 (2014), 111


The negative consequences of climate change are an increasingly prominent discussion point in global climate change negotiations. This topic has recently risen to global attention with the establishment of the "Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts". Mounting scientific evidence suggests that despite global mitigation and adaptation efforts, residual losses and damages from climate change are inevitable. More information is needed on future climate change impacts and on where the limits of adaptation lie. This will ...


Even for slide-prone region, landslide was off the chart

Science, Vol. 344, No. 6179. (4 April 2014), pp. 16-17,


The rugged terrain inland of Seattle is prone to landslides. Yet the latest Oso landslide, which killed at least 27 people on 22 March, stands out as an anomaly. Calculations suggest that it flowed three times farther than slides of similar size and elevation drop, most likely due to the effect of heavy rains on the region's glacier-deposited soils. ...


Forests of the Mediterranean region: gaps in knowledge and research needs

Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 132, No. 1. (June 2000), pp. 97-109,


Mediterranean forests are characterised by a remarkable set of features that make them naturally and aesthetically attractive, on the one hand, but also quite fragile, on the other, therefore calling for careful strategies for their conservation and management. An exceptionally large variation of environmental conditions characterises the Mediterranean countries, where the environment can limit forest growth and succession but can also give rise, more often than it is supposed, to lush, mesic forest ecosystems, similar to those of central Europe. Moreover, ...


Disconcerting learning on climate sensitivity and the uncertain future of uncertainty

Climatic Change In Climatic Change, Vol. 119, No. 3-4. (2013), pp. 585-601,


How will our estimates of climate uncertainty evolve in the coming years, as new learning is acquired and climate research makes further progress? As a tentative contribution to this question, we argue here that the future path of climate uncertainty may itself be quite uncertain, and that our uncertainty is actually prone to increase even though we learn more about the climate system. We term disconcerting learning this somewhat counter-intuitive process in which improved knowledge generates higher uncertainty. After recalling some ...


The question of scale in integrated natural resource management

Ecology and Society, Vol. 5, No. 2. (2001), 25+


Lessons from integrated natural resource management (INRM) practiced at different scales are reviewed, with a focus on catchment management. INRM is complex, and many interactions have to be addressed. Consequently, the scale of investigation can restrict the generality and utility of the findings. Examples show that temporal, biophysical, and institutional scales can each be critical. Contexts and dynamics associated with particular scales, and interactions or lateral flows that become important with increasing scale, also pose serious challenges. A conceptual framework is ...


It's a myth that protection against disease is a strong and general service of biodiversity conservation: Response to Ostfeld and Keesing

Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 28, No. 9. (September 2013), pp. 503-504,


[Excerpt] Ostfeld and Keesing's rebuttal [1] to our published review [2] does not question our overall synthesis that Lyme disease (LD) transmission is a complex balance between dilution and amplification. Ostfeld and Keesing do rebut some details, critique conclusions by authors cited in our review, question whether deer are important hosts for deer ticks, and cast aspersions on a paradigm that they themselves introduced into the literature (equating biodiversity with forestation). Ostfeld and Keesing confuse ‘reductio ad absurdum reasoning’ with a ...


Beyond compare

Nature, Vol. 500, No. 7464. (28 August 2013), pp. 501-501,


Metaphors are like cheese — often desirable but sometimes full of holes. ...


On the age of the sun’s heat

Macmillan's Magazine, Vol. 5 (March 1862), pp. 388-393


The second great law of thermodynamics involves a certain principle of irreversible action in Nature. It is thus shown that, although mechanical energy is indestructible, there is a universal tendency to its dissipation, which produces gradual augmentation and diffusion of heat, cessation of motion, and exhaustion of potential energy through the material universe. [1] The result would inevitably be a state of universal rest and death, if the universe were finite and left to obey existing laws. But it is impossible ...

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Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management - Meta-information Database.

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Meta-information Database (INRMM-MiD).
This database integrates a dedicated meta-information database in CiteULike (the CiteULike INRMM Group) with the meta-information available in Google Scholar, CrossRef and DataCite. The Altmetric database with Article-Level Metrics is also harvested. Part of the provided semantic content (machine-readable) is made even human-readable thanks to the DCMI Dublin Core viewer. Digital preservation of the meta-information indexed within the INRMM-MiD publication records is implemented thanks to the Internet Archive.
The library of INRMM related pubblications may be quickly accessed with the following links.
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Full-text and abstracts of the publications indexed by the INRMM meta-information database are copyrighted by the respective publishers/authors. They are subject to all applicable copyright protection. The conditions of use of each indexed publication is defined by its copyright owner. Please, be aware that the indexed meta-information entirely relies on voluntary work and constitutes a quite incomplete and not homogeneous work-in-progress.
INRMM-MiD was experimentally established by the Maieutike Research Initiative in 2008 and then improved with the help of several volunteers (with a major technical upgrade in 2011). This new integrated interface is operational since 2014.