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E&S Home > Vol. 18, Iss. 4 > Art. 68 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
The Challenge of Collecting and Using Environmental Monitoring Data

Eric Biber, University of California, Berkeley


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The monitoring of ambient environmental conditions is essential to environmental management and regulation. However, effective monitoring is subject to a range of institutional, political, and legal constraints, constraints that are a product of the need for monitoring to be continuous, long lived, and well matched to the resources being studied. Political pressure or myopia, conflicting agency goals, the need for institutional autonomy, or a reluctance of agency scientists to pursue monitoring all may make it difficult for ambient monitoring to be effectively undertaken. Even if effective monitoring data is gathered, it may not be used in decision making. The inevitable residual uncertainty in monitoring data allows stakeholders to contest the use of monitoring in decision making. Structural solutions, e.g., the creation of agencies to conduct monitoring separate from management or regulation and prompt use of that data in decision making, may be the most promising solutions.

Key words

environmental law; monitoring; uncertainty

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087