Document Detail

Fitness Landscapes and the Precautionary Principle: The Geometry of Environmental Risk.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10341068     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
/ A generalized mathematical model for exploring the implications of the Precautionary Principle is developed. This model draws on recent developments in the field of complex adaptive systems theory. The existence and importance of the Precautionary Principle in the field of environmental law is taken as given and used as justification for the development of models for exploring the principle's implications.The Precautionary Principle is a legal mechanism for managing the environmental risk arising from incomplete scientific knowledge of a proposal's impacts. The Precautionary Principle is applied to actions that carry with them the potential for serious or irreversible environmental change. The model proposed in this paper draws on methods used in a range of disciplines for modeling (potentially highly nonlinear) interactions between multiple parts of a complex system. These methods have been drawn together under the common mathematical umbrella of Fitness Landscape Theory. It is argued that the model, called "Environmental Impact Fitness Landscapes," allows statements about the sensitivity of the gross effect from a set of impacts to be made when the number of impacts in the set, and/or their degree of interaction, is varied. It is argued that this can be achieved through identification of "meta" or "emergent" properties of the set itself, without reference to the specific causal chains determining behavior in specific instances. While such properties are very general, they may at least allow for the parameterization of the effects of sets of impacts where interactions are highly uncertain and empirical data severely limited, i.e., situations that would typically invoke the Precautionary Principle.KEY WORDS: Fitness landscapes; Precautionary Principle; Nonlinear interactions; Graph theory
Shipworth; Kenley
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental management     Volume:  24     ISSN:  1432-1009     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ Manage     Publication Date:  1999 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1999-05-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7703893     Medline TA:  Environ Manage     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  121-131     Citation Subset:  -    
Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3052
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