January 30, 2008

Book Review - Bioregional Assessments

Bioregional Assessments: Science at the Crossroads of Management and Policy
Edited by K. Norman Johnson, Frederick Swanson, Margaret Herring, and Sarah Greene
GE 310 .B56 1999

As demand grows and resources diminish, there is increasing conflict over the use, development, or protection of natural resources. This book offers a framework that can be used to assess these resources, both from a scientific point of view as well as a policy point of view, so that decisions about their use can be reached before conflicts develop. These authors suggest conducting bioregional assessments--they gather together knowledge about a region, its ecosystem, and its regional context and integrate it with a broad range of information about the social, economic, and environmental characteristics about the region as a whole. This research is then used as a basis for study, analysis, evaluation, and policy planning concerning this region and its resources.

After describing the bioregional assessment framework, this book analyzes the role that science has played in these decisions in the past and puts forward a model of how it should be included in future decisions. The bulk of this book consists of case studies and their corresponding reviews. Each ecosystem case presented here is discussed by presenting the bioregional assessment knowledge, then reviewing the issue from scientific, management, and policy perspectives respectively. Only when all three of these points of view are taken into consideration, the authors assert, should decisions be made and plans developed.