Dealing with uncertainty: adaptive approaches to sustainable river management.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 12, (4), . (doi:10.1002/aqc.531).
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1. Sustainable river management is the proclaimed aim of many agencies and institutions, but it remains challenging to bring this worthy ideal from the level of political rhetoric to that of practical river management.
2. Amongst the many drivers that already pressure the river manager, from internal institutional goals, through political aspirations to systemic change within the biophysical process system, one common element emerges, that of prevailing uncertainty.
3. Once it has been accepted that conventional science and engineering approaches to uncertainty (risk) minimization may be sub-optimal in a truly holistic (biophysical, socio-economic, political) system, the challenge emerges of developing a more appropriate framework without destroying over-burdened managers and management systems in the process.
4. It is argued that the necessary components are often already in place or under consideration. A linked model is proposed comprising practical measures of sustainability, robust approaches to uncertainty (if necessary, involving attitude change), responsive (adaptive) management frameworks, and an important underpinning of fuzzy decision support.
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