Environmental decision-making using Bayesian networks: Creating an environmental report card

Johnson, Sandra, Logan, Murray, Fox, David, Kirkwood, John, Pinto, Uthpala, & Mengersen, Kerrie (2016) Environmental decision-making using Bayesian networks: Creating an environmental report card. Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry.

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Environmental report cards are popular mechanisms for summarising the overall status of an environmental system of interest. This paper describes the development of such a report card in the context of a study for Gladstone Harbour in Queensland, Australia. The harbour is within the World Heritage-protected Great Barrier Reef and is the location of major industrial development, hence the interest in developing a way of reporting its health in a statistically valid, transparent and sustainable manner. A Bayesian network (BN) approach was used because of its ability to aggregate and integrate different sources of information, provide probabilistic estimates of interest and update these estimates in a natural manner as new information becomes available.

BN modelling is an iterative process, and in the context of environmental reporting, this is appealing as model development can be initiated while quantitative knowledge is still under development, and subsequently refined as more knowledge becomes available. Moreover, the BN model helps build the maturity of the quantitative information needed and helps target investment in monitoring and/or process modelling activities to inform the approach taken. The model is able to incorporate spatial and temporal information and may be structured in such a way that new indicators of relevance to the underlying environmental gradient being monitored may replace less informative indicators or be added to the model with minimal effort.

The model described here focuses on the environmental component, but has the capacity to also incorporate social, cultural and economic components of the Gladstone Harbour Report Card.

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ID Code: 99670
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: environmental report card, Bayesian network, healthy harbour
DOI: 10.1002/asmb.2190
ISSN: 1524-1904
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical & Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS)
Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Facilities: Science and Engineering Centre
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons
Deposited On: 04 Oct 2016 23:01
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 04:54

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