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Critical Methods/Concepts for Environmental Decisions

EFI is looking at developing new methods as well as a set of best practices for the use of ecological forecasts to support decision. What are the critical methods and essential disciplinary concepts regarding the processes and tools of decision to effectively use forecasts for environmental decisions?

In terms of best practices, having decision-makers who will use forecasts at the table and engaged from the start of the project. They should play a collaborative role in shaping the forecast end products and identifying the problem, and this will increase the likelihood that the forecasts will be used and have buy-in.

I completely agree with Kathy Gerst that having decision-makers providing information about the types of outputs and information they need early is key to actually helping them improve their decision making. We have found it helpful to work with them from the start and throughout the project. This has been very easy in one context one of their headquarters is located at NC State which makes the back and forth meetings very easy. It has been much harder but still achievable in another since our decision-makers are in Oregon but should get easier as we develop web-based tools with built-in analytics to help them achieve their goals.