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Otter, H.S., Capobianco, M.: Uncertainty in integrated coastal zone management. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 6: 23-32, 2000.


Abstract. Uncertainty plays a major role in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). A large part of this uncertainty is connected to our lack of knowledge of the integrated functioning of the coastal system and to the increasing need to act in a pro-active way. Increasingly, coastal managers are forced to take decisions based on information which is surrounded by uncertainties. Different types of uncertainty can be identified and the role of uncertainty in decision making, scientific uncertainty and model uncertainty in ICZM is discussed. The issue of spatial variability, which is believed to be extremely important in ICZM and represents a primary source of complexity and uncertainty, is also briefly introduced. Some principles for complex model building are described as an approach to handle, in a balanced way, the available data, information, knowledge and experience. The practical method of sensitivity analysis is then introduced as a method for a posterior evaluation of uncertainty in simulation models. We conclude by emphasising the need for the definition of an analysis plan in order to handle model uncertainty in a balanced way during the decision making process.

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