Scrutiny of Environmental impact Statements (EIS) as scientific documents is still in its infancy in Australia, yet we already have litany of complaints about their quality. My examination of I31 EISs covering a range of projects, habitats and legislatures revealed that few tackled ecological issues and mostly without a quantitative approach utilizing statistical analyses. I therefore conclude that the science in EISs is rather more rudimentary than the standard seen in ecological journals. Here I outline the genesis of problems with how science is used in environmental assessment and suggest several means by which scientists and regulatory authorities can try to rectify the situation. These suggestions revolve around my central point that the image of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) needs to be put more positively — to deserve this requires in turn, a higher standard of scientific input and use. Even if some environmental impact studies verge upon being pseudoscientific, they should be of interest still to the wider scientific community precisely because they are an important interface between scientific research and public interests. Without optimising this public face of science we run the risk of alienating the ultimate source of support for our science.
Improving the use of Science in Environmental Assessments
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Peter Fairweather; Improving the use of Science in Environmental Assessments. Australian Zoologist 1 December 1994; 29 (3-4): 217–223. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.1994.008
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