Environmental Management

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 9–23 | Cite as

Endpoints for regional ecological risk assessments

  • Glenn W. SuterII
Forum

Abstract

Ecological risk assessments must have clearly defined endpoints that are socially and biologically relevant, accessible to prediction and measurement, and susceptible to the hazard being assessmed. Most ecological assessments do not have such endpoints, in part because the endpoints of toxicity tests or other measurements of effects are used as assessment endpoints. This article distinguishes assessment and measurement endpoints in terms of their roles in risk assessments and explains how the criteria for their selection differ. It then presents critical discussions of possible assessment and measurement endpoints for regional ecological risk assessments. Finally, the article explains how endpoint selection is affected by the goal of the assessment. Generic goals for regional risk assessment include explanation of observed regional effects, evaluation of an action with regional implications, and evaluation of the state of a region. Currently, population level assessment endpoints such as abundance and range are the most generally useful. For higher levels (ecosystems and regions), data are generally not available and the validity of models has not been demonstrated, and for lower level effects (physiological, and organismal) are not relevant. However, landscape descriptors, material export, and other regional-scale measurement end-points show promise for regional assessments.

Key words

Endpoints Risk Assessment Regional Landscape 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. American Management Systems, Inc. 1987. Review of the literature on ecological end points. Report to the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  2. APHA (American Public Health Association). 1985. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. APHA, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. ASTM. 1987. Annual book of ASTM standards: Water and environmental technology. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  4. Barnthouse, L. W., G. W. Suter II, A. E. Rosen, and J. J. Beauchamp. 1987. Estimating responses of fish populations to toxic contaminants.Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 6:811–824.Google Scholar
  5. Barnthouse, L. W., G. W. Suter II, and A. E. Rosen. 1989. Inferring population-level significance from individual-level effects: An extrapolation from fisheries science to ecotoxicology. Pages 89–97in G. W. Suter II and M. E. Lewis (eds.), Aquatic toxicology and environmental fate, 11th volume. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  6. Beanlands, G. E., and P. N. Duinker. 1983. An ecological framework for environmental impact assessment in Canada. Institute for Resources and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, L. (ed.). 1987. State of the world 1987. W. W. Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Christensen, S. W., J. E. Breck, and W. Van Winkle. 1988. Predicting acidification effects on fish populations, using laboratory and field information.Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 7:735–747.Google Scholar
  9. Dale, V. H., and R. H. Gardner. 1987. Assessing regional impacts of growth declines using a forest succession model.Journal of Environmental Management 24:83–93.Google Scholar
  10. Dayton, P. K. 1986. Cumulative impacts in the marine realm. Pages 7972-84in Proceedings of the workshop on cumulative environmental effects: Setting the stage. Minister of Supply and Services Canada Catalog No. En 106-2/1985. Ottawa, Ontario.Google Scholar
  11. Division of Ecological Services. 1980. Habitat evaluation procedure (HEP). ESM 102. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  12. Economic Analysis, Inc. 1987. Measuring damages to coastal and marine national resources: Concepts and data relevant for CERCLA type A damage assessments, PB87-142485. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia.Google Scholar
  13. Forest Service. 1980. An approach to water resource evaluation of non-point sylvicultural sources. EPA-600/8-80-012. US Environmental Protection Agency, Athens, Georgia.Google Scholar
  14. Forman, R. T. T. 1986. Emerging directions in landscape ecology and applications in natural resource management.in Conference on science in the national parks.Google Scholar
  15. Franklin, J. F., and R. T. T. Forman. 1987. Creating landscape patterns by forest cutting: Ecological consequences and principles.Lanscape Ecology 1:5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freemark, K. E., and H. G. Merriam. 1986. Importance of area and habitat heterogeneity to bird assemblages in temperate forest fragments.Biological Conservation 36:115–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. GAO (General Accounting Office). 1987. The nation's water: Key unanswered questions about the quality of rivers and streams. GAO/PEMD-86-6. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. Gosselink, J. G., and L. C. Lee. 1987. Cumulative impact assessment in bottomland hardwood forest. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.Google Scholar
  19. Henderson, M. T., G. Merriam, and J. Wegner. 1985. Patchy environments and species survival: Chipmunks in an agricultural mosaic.Biological Conservation 31:95–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hinckley, D. 1989. EPA's ecological guidance activity.Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 70:126–129.Google Scholar
  21. Hunsaker, C. T., S. W. Christensen, J. J. Beauchamp, R. J. Olson, R. S. Turner, and J. L. Malanchuk. 1986. Empirical relationships between watershed attributes and headwater lake chemistry in the Adirondack region. ORNL/TM-9838. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.Google Scholar
  22. Hunsaker, C. T., R. L. Graham, G. W. Suter II, R. V. O'Neill, B. L. Jackson, and L. W. Barnthouse. 1989. Regional ecological risk assessment: Theory and demonstration. ORNL/TM-11128. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.Google Scholar
  23. Hynes, H. B. N. 1960. The biology of polluted waters. Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, UK.Google Scholar
  24. Jacobson, J. S., and A. C. Hill (eds.). 1970. Recognition of air pollution injury to vegetation: A pictorial atlas. Air Pollution Control Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 102 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Karr, J. R., K. D. Fausch, P. L. Angermeier, P. R. Yant, and I. J. Schlosser. 1986. Assessing biological integrity in running waters: A method and its rationale. Illinois Natural History Survey, Special Pub. 5, Champaign, Illinois.Google Scholar
  26. Kroodsma, R. L. 1984a. Ecological factors associated with the degree of edge effect in breeding birds.Journal of Wildlife Management 48:418–425.Google Scholar
  27. Kroodsma, R. L. 1984b. Effect of edge on breeding forest bird species.Wilson Bulletin 96:426–436.Google Scholar
  28. Krummel, J. R., C. C. Gilmore, and R. V. O'Neill. 1984. Locating vegetation “at-risk” to air pollution: An exploration of a regional approach.Journal of Environmental Management 18:279–290.Google Scholar
  29. Larson, R. I., and W. W. Heck. 1984. An air quality data analysis system for interrelating effects, standards, and needed source reductions: Part 8. An effective mean O3 crop reduction mathematical model.JAPCA 34:1023–1034.Google Scholar
  30. Malhotra, S. S., and R. A. Blauel. 1980. Diagnosis of air pollutant and natural stress symptoms on forest vegetation in western Canada. Northern Forest Research Centre, Edmonton, Canada. 84 pp.Google Scholar
  31. McBee, K. 1985. Chromosomal abberrations in resident small mammals at a petrochemical waste dump site: A natural model for analysis of environmental mutagens. PhD dissertation. Texas A & M University, Kingsville, Texas.Google Scholar
  32. NRC (National Research Council). 1987. National water quality monitoring and assessment. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  33. Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances. 1987. Toxic substances control act test guidelines, OPTS-42095. 40 CFR Parts 796–797.Google Scholar
  34. O'Neill, R. V., R. H. Gardner, L. W. Barnthouse, G. W. Suter II, S. G. Hildebrand, and C. W. Gehrs. 1982. Ecosystem risk analysis: A new methodology.Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 1:167–177.Google Scholar
  35. O'Neill, R. V., J. R. Krummel, R. H. Gardner, G. Sugihara, B. Jackson, D. L. DeAngelis, B. Milne, M. G. Turner, B. Zygmutt, S. Christensen, V. H. Dale, and R. H. Graham. 1988. Indices of landscape pattern.Landscape Ecology 1:153–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Orians, G. H. 1986. Cumulative effects: Setting the stage. Pages 1–6in Proceedings of the workshop on cumulative environmental effects: Setting the stage. Minister of Supply and Services Canada Catalog No. En 106-2/1985. Ottawa, Ontario.Google Scholar
  37. Simberloff, D. 1987. The spotted owl fracas: Mixing academic, applied, and political ecology.Ecology 68:766–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Suter, G. W., II. 1989. Ecological endpoints. Pages 2-1–2-28in W. Warren-Hicks, B. R. Parkhurst, and S. S. Baker, Jr. (eds.), Ecological assessment of hazardous waste sites: A field and laboratory reference. EPA/600/3-89/013. US Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, Oregon.Google Scholar
  39. Turner, M. G. 1987. Land use changes and net primary production in the Georgia, USA, landscape: 1935–1982.Environmental Management 11:237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Urban, D. J., and N. J. Cook. 1986. Hazard evaluation, standard evaluation procedure, ecological risk assessment. EPA/9-85-001. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  41. Walker, D. A., P. J. Webber, E. F. Binnian, K. R. Everett, N. D. Lederer, E. A. Nordstrand, and M. D. Walker. 1987. Cumulative impacts of oil fields on northern Alaskan landscapes.Science 238:757–761.Google Scholar
  42. West, D. C., S. B. McLaughlin, and H. H. Shugart. 1980. Simulated forest response to chronic air pollution stress.Journal of Environmental Quality 9:43–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wischmeier, W. H., and J. R. Smith. 1978. Predicting erosion losses—a guide to conservation planning. Agriculture Handbook 537. US Department of AGriculture, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  44. WRI/IIED (World Resources Institute and International Institute for Environmental Development). 1986. World resources 1986. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn W. SuterII
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations