The Precautionary Principle

  • Peter J. BalintEmail author
  • Ronald E. Stewart
  • Anand Desai
  • Lawrence C. Walters


Wicked environmental problems are characterized by scientific uncertainty, deep public disagreement over desired states and preferred outcomes, the impossibility of finding an optimal solution, and the requirement that despite these unknowns and conflicts the responsible decision maker must act (Allen and Gould 1986). In these conditions, public managers—whether or not they recognize that they face a wicked problem—often respond by applying such strategies as the precautionary principle, adaptive management, or public participation.


Adaptive Management Precautionary Principle Wicked Problem Scientific Uncertainty Fuel Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Island Press 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Balint
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ronald E. Stewart
    • 2
  • Anand Desai
    • 3
  • Lawrence C. Walters
    • 4
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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