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Weight-of-Evidence Approaches for Assessing Ecosystem Impairment

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It is challenging determining whether an ecosystem is impaired. The complexity of direct and indirect interactions between physical, biological and chemical components with their varying temporal and spatial scales generally renders use of multiple assessment approaches mandatory, with a consequent need to integrate different lines-of-evidence. Integration generally involves some form of weight-ofevidence (WOE). WOE approaches reported in the literature vary broadly from subjective and qualitative to quantitative. No standard approach exists and no accepted guidelines exist describing how a WOE process should be conducted. This review summarizes the advantages, limitations, and uncertainties of different WOE approaches, critical issues involved in selecting and executing different lines-ofevidence, and the process for subsequent characterization of the likelihood of impairment.
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Keywords: best professional judgment; hazard assessment; risk assessment; uncertainty; weight-of-evidence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435. 2: EVS Environment Consultants, 195 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver, BC, Canada V7P 2R4. 3: Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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