|Title||The role of data and inference in the development and application of ecological site concepts and state-and-transition models|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Karl J, Talbot C|
|ARIS Log Number||336665|
Information embodied in ecological site descriptions and their state-and-transition models is crucial to effective land management, and as such is needed now. There is not time (or money) to employ a traditional research-based approach (i.e., inductive/deductive, hypothesis driven inference) to addressing the unknowns in developing and documenting ecological site concepts. We propose that the development of ecological site products is a dynamic task of defining concepts and processes that best explain the available data (i.e., abductive reasoning), and as such a more iterative approach to their development is needed than is currently used. Under the proposed approach, ecological site concepts are never viewed as final, but only the best representation that is supported by available knowledge and data. The natural result of this way of thinking is that products like ESDs and STMs should continually be tested and improved as new data become available.