Strategies for Restoring River Ecosystems: Sources of Variability and Uncertainty in Natural and Managed Systems

9. Watershed Restoration-Adaptive Decision Making in the Face of Uncertainty

J. L. Anderson, R. W. Hilborn, R. T. Lackey, and D. Ludwig

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569469.ch9

Abstract.—Decisions about watershed restoration projects often are complicated by competing interests and goals, gaps in scientific knowledge, and constraints on time and resources. Under these circumstances, there is no best approach to decision making and problem solving. Appropriate decision processes need not always be analytically complex, but instead depend on the characteristics of the external social context, the decision makers, and the decision problem itself. Because social concerns so often prevail in restoration decisions, we begin with a discussion of issues characterizing the social context. Next, in three increasingly broad contexts for watershed restoration, we discuss the application of several methods for facilitating decisions and solving problems involving uncertainty: Bayesian decision analysis, active adaptive management, passive adaptive management, and evolutionary problem solving.