Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2013

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Sustainability and Ecosystems

Room: Ruth   10:30 AM- 12:00 PM

Chair(s): Wayne Landis

M2-J.1  10:30  Health, Risk, and Sustainability: A Taxonomy of Relationships. Guidotti TL*; Medical Advisory Services

Abstract: Sustainability can be envisioned as the mirror image of conventional risk management, in that it seeks to construct conditions for high-probability outcomes with low risk of adverse consequences. The present work seeks to develop a taxonomy or typology for relationships between health and issues of sustainability, identifying fundamental principles for each type. These types should be understood as different ways of looking at problems, not mutually exclusive categories: • “Catastrophic failure”, characterized by existential risk for viability on a large scale because of effects beyond capacity to adapt or mitigate, and therefore are characterized by an “all or nothing” tipping point. (Global climate change.) • “Pollution issues”, characterized by exposure-response relationships for severity and/or frequency of response, follow principles of toxicology or pathogenicity as applied to populations. (Described by the toxicological and/or epidemiological exposure-response relationship.) • “Ecosystem change and stochastic disease risk” define a class of sustainability-health interactions in which ecosystems are destabilized and have indirect consequences mediated by biological mechanisms other than direct toxicity, expressed by increased frequency of disease. (Infectious disease risk and the conventional “public health triad”.) • “Ecosystem change and mediated health risk”, characterized by entropy and loss of access to resources or economic opportunity and mediated by social or economic mediation. (Health effects of unemployment after depletion of fishing stocks.) • “Degradation of environmental services” after cessation or diminution in natural functions of economic value that affect health. (Land use decisions that affect airsheds and water reuse.) • “Urban ecosystem management problems”, characterized by inadequacy of management of artificial ecological systems in human communities. (Wastewater disposal.)

M2-J.2  10:50  Value of Information Models and Data Collection in Conservation Biology. Colyvan M*; University of Sydney

Abstract: I will look at recent uses of value of information studies in conservation biology. In the past, it has been mostly assumed that more and better quality data will lead to better conservation management decisions. Indeed, this assumption lies behind and motivates a great deal of work in conservation biology. Of course, more data can lead to better decisions in some cases but decision-theoretic models of the value of information show that in many cases the cost of the data is too high and thus not worth the effort of collecting. While such value of information studies are well known in economics and decision theory circles, their applications in conservation biology are relatively new and rather controversial. I will discuss some reasons to be wary of, at least, wholesale acceptance of such studies. Apart from anything else, value of information models treat conservation biology as a servant to conservation management, where all that matters is the relevant conservation management decision. In short, conservation biology loses some of its scientific independence and the fuzzy boundary between science and policy becomes even less clear.

M2-J.3  11:10  Ecological Risk and Hydraulic Fracturing: Perception, Assessment, and Reality. Jones SM*, Smith DW; Conestoga-Rovers & Associates

Abstract: The environmental impacts and risks of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to human and ecological receptors are highly controversial. Opponents of fracking contend that chemicals in fracking fluids, as well as the fracking process itself, impact groundwater supplies, surface waters, and other human and natural resources. In an effort to evaluate the risks associated with fracking, federal and state agencies, industry, academic institutions, environmental groups, and Hollywood have produced a number of impact statements, analyses, and position papers. One notable example is the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DSGEIS) prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Instead of settling the issues and calming the storm, these reviews are, unfortunately, often derided for alleged bias, misinformation, and inadequate analysis. In this talk, we identify the key ecological issues associated with fracking, identify major impact assessments and analyses that have been conducted, and present, as best we can, an objective evaluation of the major points of contention, focusing on ecological receptors and natural resources.

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