The role of the zoologist in environmental impact assessment
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1P. and J Smith, Ecological Consultants, 44 Hawkins Parade, Blaxland, New South Wales, Australia 2774.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a formal procedure for assessing the environmental consequences of a proposed development, usually based on the preparation and public exhibition of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). EIA procedures have been introduced in recent times in many countries throughout the world. They have been a major breakthrough in raising the environmental awareness of developers, decision-makers and the public, in this chapter we describe the process as it operates in New South Wales and discuss the role of zoologists, with particular reference to studies of forest fauna. We conclude that EIA should commence earlier and be more fully integrated with development planning, and it should continue through the construction and operational stages of the development in the form of monitoring of actual environmental impacts. There should be more involvement of zoologists n i determining the specific zoological requirements for each EIS, and wider dissemination and review of EISs in the scientific community. However, there is also an urgent need for much greater involvement of zoologists in land-use planning on a broader scale. The important contribution that zoologists can make at this level of planning should not be masked by an over-emphasis on project-specific, highly site-specific EIAs.