A TAXONOMY AND TREATMENT OF UNCERTAINTY FOR ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

A TAXONOMY AND TREATMENT OF UNCERTAINTY FOR ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY Uncertainty is pervasive in ecology where the difficulties of dealing with sources of uncertainty are exacerbated by variation in the system itself. Attempts at classifying uncertainty in ecology have, for the most part, focused exclusively on epistemic uncertainty. In this paper we classify uncertainty into two main categories: epistemic uncertainty (uncertainty in determinate facts) and linguistic uncertainty (uncertainty in language). We provide a classification of sources of uncertainty under the two main categories and demonstrate how each impacts on applications in ecology and conservation biology. In particular, we demonstrate the importance of recognizing the effect of linguistic uncertainty, in addition to epistemic uncertainty, in ecological applications. The significance to ecology and conservation biology of developing a clear understanding of the various types of uncertainty, how they arise and how they might best be dealt with is highlighted. Finally, we discuss the various general strategies for dealing with each type of uncertainty and offer suggestions for treating compounding uncertainty from a range of sources. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Applications Ecological Society of America

A TAXONOMY AND TREATMENT OF UNCERTAINTY FOR ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

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Publisher
Ecological Society of America
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by the Ecological Society of America
Subject
Articles
ISSN
1051-0761
DOI
10.1890/1051-0761%282002%29012%5B0618:ATATOU%5D2.0.CO%3B2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Uncertainty is pervasive in ecology where the difficulties of dealing with sources of uncertainty are exacerbated by variation in the system itself. Attempts at classifying uncertainty in ecology have, for the most part, focused exclusively on epistemic uncertainty. In this paper we classify uncertainty into two main categories: epistemic uncertainty (uncertainty in determinate facts) and linguistic uncertainty (uncertainty in language). We provide a classification of sources of uncertainty under the two main categories and demonstrate how each impacts on applications in ecology and conservation biology. In particular, we demonstrate the importance of recognizing the effect of linguistic uncertainty, in addition to epistemic uncertainty, in ecological applications. The significance to ecology and conservation biology of developing a clear understanding of the various types of uncertainty, how they arise and how they might best be dealt with is highlighted. Finally, we discuss the various general strategies for dealing with each type of uncertainty and offer suggestions for treating compounding uncertainty from a range of sources.

Journal

Ecological ApplicationsEcological Society of America

Published: Apr 1, 2002

Keywords: epistemic uncertainty ; linguistic uncertainty ; uncertainty ; vagueness

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