An integrated decision-support approach in prioritizing risks of non-indigenous species in the face of high uncertainty
When evaluating the risks of future invasions, we often have sparse information on the likelihood that a species will arrive, establish and spread in a new environment, and on the potential impacts should this occur. Conventional risk assessment, therefore, is limited in providing guidance in managing the risk of non-indigenous species (NIS). However, risk management decisions must be made facing these uncertainties to avoid high and irreversible impacts. We develop an integrated ecological economic modeling and deliberative multi-criteria evaluation (DMCE) approach to support group decision-making in risk prioritization, using an example of ten NIS that could potentially impact Australian plant industries. This innovative approach seeks to combine the advantages of dynamic modeling with the benefits of DMCE in assessing and communicating uncertainty. The model unveils the complexity of the socio-ecological system of biological invasion, with a scenario analysis designed to interactively communicate scientific uncertainty to decision-makers. The DMCE provides a structured approach to identifying stakeholders' key concerns in addressing economic, social, and environmental dimensions of NIS risk explicitly. Functioning as a platform for risk communication, the DMCE also offers an opportunity for diverse views to enter the decision-making process and for the negotiation of consensus consensuses.
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