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FORMAL SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT STUDIES
LIU, Y., M. MAHMOUD, H. HARTMANN, S. STEWART, T. WAGENER, D. J. SEMMENS, R. STEWART, H. GUPTA, D. DOMINGUEZ, D. HULSE, R. LETCHER, B. RASHLEIGH, R. STREET, J. TICEHURST, M. TWERY, H. VAN DELDEN, R. WALDICK, D. WHITE, L. WINTER, AND C. SMITH. FORMAL SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT STUDIES. Chapter 9, A. Jakeman, A. Voinov, A. Rizzoli, and S. Chen (ed.), Environmental Modelling, Software and Decision Support. Elsevier Science, New York, NY, , 145-162, (2008).
Scenario analysis is a process of evaluating possible future events through the consideration of alternative plausible (though not equally likely) outcomes (scenarios). The analysis is designed to enable improved decision-making and assessment through a more rigorous evaluation of possible outcomes and their implications. For environmental impact assessment studies, the process of scenario development typically involves making explicit and/or implicit assumptions about potential future conditions, such as climate change, land cover and land use changes, population growth, economic development, and technological changes. Realistic assessment of scenario impacts often requires complex integrated modeling frameworks that represent environmental and socio-economic systems to the best of our knowledge, including assumptions about plausible future conditions. In addition, scenarios have to be developed in a context relevant to the stakeholders involved, and include estimation and communication of uncertainties, to establish transparency, credibility, and relevance of scenario results among the stakeholders. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of scenario development and analysis, proposes a formal approach to scenario development in environmental studies, discusses existing issues, and makes some recommendations for future research in this area.
The primary objectives of this research are to:
Develop methodologies so that landscape indicator values generated from different sensors on different dates (but in the same areas) are comparable; differences in metric values result from landscape changes and not differences in the sensors;
Quantify relationships between landscape metrics generated from wall-to-wall spatial data and (1) specific parameters related to water resource conditions in different environmental settings across the US, including but not limited to nutrients, sediment, and benthic communities, and (2) multi-species habitat suitability;
Develop and validate multivariate models based on quantification studies;
Develop GIS/model assessment protocols and tools to characterize risk of nutrient and sediment TMDL exceedence;
Complete an initial draft (potentially web based) of a national landscape condition assessment.
This research directly supports long-term goals established in ORDs multiyear plans related to GPRA Goal 2 (Water) and GPRA Goal 4 (Healthy Communities and Ecosystems), although funding for this task comes from Goal 4. Relative to the GRPA Goal 2 multiyear plan, this research is intended to "provide tools to assess and diagnose impairment in aquatic systems and the sources of associated stressors." Relative to the Goal 4 Multiyear Plan this research is intended to (1) provide states and tribes with an ability to assess the condition of waterbodies in a scientifically defensible and representative way, while allowing for aggregation and assessment of trends at multiple scales, (2) assist Federal, State and Local managers in diagnosing the probable cause and forecasting future conditions in a scientifically defensible manner to protect and restore ecosystems, and (3) provide Federal, State and Local managers with a scientifically defensible way to assess current and future ecological conditions, and probable causes of impairments, and a way to evaluate alternative future management scenarios.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (BOOK CHAPTER)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION
LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH