Friday, December 10, 2010

Decision Support in your stocking

'Tis the season to shop! I just received an email from the National Academies of Sciences with their recommended gift list for scientists and engineers - and #2 was Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate - great gift for myself!
On a closer look, this book has a lot to offer. The chapter on decision support and learning is a great review of a broad interdisciplinary domain, and offers some novel synthetic insights of its own, including Table 3.1 on learning modes. I found the two right hand columns, Adaptive Management and Deliberation with Analysis particularly informative. These two columns are pretty much the same, except for two key, and inextricably linked, differences: the assumed decision maker and the goals. Adaptive management assumes a unitary decision maker who sets goals that persist for the life of the program. In contrast, Deliberation with Analysis assumes a diverse decision maker with goals emerging from collaboration and subject to change.
I found this distinction interesting because the description of AM given in the book is a dead ringer for what I've called the "North American School" before, and more recently my student Jamie McFadden described as the "Experimental Resilience School" in a forthcoming paper. This isn't surprising as Kai Lee was one of the panel members for the report. Deliberation with Analysis sounds much like Adaptive Co-management to me - clearly there are some linkages to follow up on.

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