Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Modeling for policy change: A feedback perspective on improving the effectiveness of coastal and marine management
by Robadue, Donald D., Jr., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 400; 3509114
Abstract (Summary)

Those advocating for effective management of the use of coastal areas and ecosystems have long aspired for an approach to governance that includes information systems with the capability to predict the end results of various courses of action, monitor the impacts of decisions and compare results with those predicted by computer models in order to suggest alterations in the actions needed if the goals are not being achieved. This dissertation draws on system dynamics modeling, content analysis and professional experience to explore four decades of experience in the United States as well as international cases to reveal lessons and strategies for putting into practice the systematic approach sought by advocates of ecosystem-based management of the nation's, and the worlds coasts and marine areas. Simulations are used to examine the implications of program structure and policy choices in state-level coastal regulatory programs, decisions on a controversial use of marine areas: offshore fish farming, and the ongoing quest for more effective approaches to attaining local success in the sustainable use of coastal resources in poor countries.

The models presented here draw upon structures used in variety of business management cases. These reveal the impacts of delay, the value of acting early on to set policies, and the danger of taking half-measures. Sufficient effort must be mobilized to enforce policies and change behavior patterns before coastal resource scarcity drives up the price of protection as well as the resistance to stringent rules. Development assistance places great emphasis on short term, high impact projects, but local success depends on steady long term support to overcome the barriers to attaining better management. Fish farming is controversial for environmental reasons, but seemingly stable operations such as bluefin tuna ranching in Mexico are highly sensitive to market fluctuations, the migration patterns of juvenile bluefin tuna and dependent on the abundance of sardine stocks.

Many management failures can be traced to policy resistance and problems of informatics whose solutions include endogenous strategies. Our failures are often generated by ourselves, not by outsiders or by big, surprising shocks to the governance system.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Andersen, David F., Richardson, George P.
Commitee: Kleppel, Gary S.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Informatics-Information Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Environmental management, Public policy, Information science, Aquatic sciences
Keywords: Development assistance, Fish farming, Integrated coastal management, Marine policy, Policy informatics, System dynamics
Publication Number: 3509114
ISBN: 9781267353023
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