Cash, D. W. 2000. "Distributed Assessment Systems: An Emerging Paradigm of Research, Assessment and Decision-making for Environmental Change." Global Environmental Change 10(4): 241-244.
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Both scientific research and practical experience are beginning to show that the causes of, impacts of and responses to global environmental change are linked to local environments and human actions. As these global-local linkages become more obvious, they present scientists and decision-makers with new and unforeseen challenges of integrating information, coordinating management, and producing assessments that are useful to multiple actors, from the local to global levels. In response to these challenges, a new paradigm for environmental assessment and management has begun to emerge, paralleling and complementing the more traditional centralized committee-and-report approach: distributed assessment systems. A distributed assessment system can be thought of as an integrated network of research, assessment, and management which bridges numerous levels, and includes sustained, long-term interactions between scientists, decision-makers, and stakeholders. This paper identifies such innovative systems in several issue-areas and sketches characteristics that contribute to their effectiveness.
Keywords: distributed assessment, decision making, science, networks, adaptive assessment and management, scale
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