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Uncertainty and the Environment

Implications for Decision Making and Environmental Policy

Richard Young

This thought provoking book is concerned with the need to deal adequately with uncertainty in environmental decision making. The author advances a critique of the use of traditional models and then develops an alternative model of decision making under uncertainty, based on the work of George Shackle.
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Chapter 6: Case Study: The Belize Southern Highway

Richard Young


6.1 INTRODUCTION In order to test the operationality of the variation of the Shackle model that has been developed in the previous chapter, a suitable case study was chosen. This chapter is devoted to a brief explanation of the environmental background behind the case study of a road project in Belize, the Southern Highway project, and the decision process to which the Shackle model has been applied. 6.2 INTRODUCTION TO BELIZE AND ITS ENVIRONMENT Belize is located in the north-east of Central America and has an area of approximately 22,963 km2 or 5.4 million acres (World Bank, 1996) (see Figure 6.1). Belize is high in biodiversity with over 4000 native flowering plant species, 504 species of birds, 121 mammal species, 107 species of reptiles and 26 species of amphibians. However, because of the lack of natural barriers, species endemism is limited. Forest mammals include howler monkeys, brocket deer, otters, jaguars, ocelots, margay cats, jaguarondis, pumas and tapirs. Approximately 60 per cent of Belize is closed forest, of which 47 per cent is broadleafed cover and the majority of the rest needle leaf. In Southern Belize (the area affected by the road) about 70 per cent is under dense cover, particularly in the inner areas of the Mayan foothills. The coastal waters of Belize (50 per cent of its national territory) are also rich in species partly due to the presence of the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world. The coastal and...

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