Environmental Decision-Making in Context: A Toolbox, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environmental Decision-Making in Context

A Toolbox, 1st Edition

By Chad J. McGuire


218 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439885758
pub: 2012-04-25
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315094434
pub: 2017-09-25
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Because of the complexity involved in understanding the environment, the choices made about environmental issues are often incomplete. In a perfect world, those who make environmental decisions would be armed with a foundation about the broad range of issues at stake when making such decisions. Offering a simple but comprehensive understanding of the critical roles science, economics, and values play in making informed environmental decisions, Environmental Decision-Making in Context: A Toolbox provides that foundation.

The author highlights a primary set of intellectual tools from different disciplines and places them into an environmental context through the use of case study examples. The case studies are designed to stimulate the analytical reasoning required to employ environmental decision-making and ultimately, help in establishing a framework for pursuing and solving environmental questions, issues, and problems. They create a framework individuals from various backgrounds can use to both identify and analyze environmental issues in the context of everyday environmental problems.

The book strikes a balance between being a tightly bound academic text and a loosely defined set of principles. It takes you beyond the traditional pillars of academic discipline to supply an understanding of the fundamental aspects of what is actually involved in making environmental decisions and building a set of skills for making those decisions.


"The book’s main goal is to introduce the reader to theories, methods, and tools used in environmental decision making. … the author has kept this promise … a great introductory handbook"

—Agnieszka D Hunka, University of Twente, the Netherlands

"The book is a short beginner’s user manual to make sense of the complexity of sustainability assessments conclusions."

—Ricardo Teixeira, Marie-Curie Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Table of Contents


Science of Environmental Decision-Making


Natural Systems

Systems Thinking



Economics of Environmental Decision-Making


Categories of Economics Relevant to Environmental Decision-Making

Defining Value: Linking Environment and Human Interactions

Total Valuation Technique (Tv=Dv+Iv+Nuv)

Benefit–Cost Analysis



Values of Environmental Decision-Making


Objective Values

Subjective Values

Scaling Value Decisions



Case Problems

Introduction to Case Problems

Case Problem 1: Watershed Management: Linking Terrestrial and Aquatic Environmental Problems

Case Problem 2: Fisheries Management:.Managing Public Resources through a Mix of Private Incentives

Case Problem 3: Sustainability: Setting Priorities between Today and Tomorrow, A Total Valuation Application

Case Problem 4: Climate Change: Making Environmental Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty


About the Author

Chad J. McGuire is a professor of environmental policy within the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He background is in environmental law and environmental science. Chad writes extensively in the fields of environmental law, policy, sustainability and dispute resolution. He has worked on policy issues related to fisheries management, climate change, globalization and land use patterns. His expertise has been sought in both private and public forums, and he has served on public committees for both non-profit and government entities. He has over 15 years of experience in the environmental management field.

About the Series

ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Founded in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the premier professional organization for public administration, dedicated to advancing its art, science, teaching and practice. The ASPA book series provides expert information on a range of public administration issues, each authored by a leader in the field. Series Editor David Rosenbloom is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at American University, USA.

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