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Human-Wildlife ConflictComplexity in the Marine Environment$
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Megan Draheim, Francine Madden, Julie-Beth McCarthy, and Chris Parsons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687145.001.0001

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Transforming Wicked Environmental Problems in the Government Arena

Transforming Wicked Environmental Problems in the Government Arena

A Case Study of the Effects of Marine Sound on Marine Mammals

(p.39) 3 Transforming Wicked Environmental Problems in the Government Arena
Human-Wildlife Conflict

Jill Lewandowski

Oxford University Press

Management of marine resources by governments is often wrought with wicked environmental problems. These types of problems involve highly complex and controversial issues, high levels of scientific uncertainty on risks, intermingling political/regulatory complexities, a regularly evolving ecological and social environment, and diverse stakeholder values and viewpoints. Productive and lasting decision-making on wicked environmental problems is difficult, especially for marine issues that are more difficult to access, study, and understand. Combine this with more traditional, linear governmental policy or decision-making approaches, and effective marine resource management can seem near impossible. Using the author’s extensive experience as a U.S. federal regulator, this chapter will use the case study on the effects of marine sound on marine mammals to illustrate what makes an issue wicked, including how identity-level conflict further complicates an issue, and the inadequacies of more typical, linear policy or decision-making approaches in taming a wicked issue. For highly complex issues like wicked environmental problems, it is imperative that governments shift their environmental policy or decision-making paradigm from a linear, expert-driven approach to a long-term participatory, iterative, deliberative, and collaborative process. This chapter will also describe such an alternative decision-making approach that brings diverse interests (technical and non-technical) to the table to collaborate, create trade-offs and synergies, and ultimately foster effective action.

Keywords:   wicked environmental problems, marine sound, identity-level conflict, marine mammals, environmental policy

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