Assessing and Managing Cumulative Environmental Effects

6 - 9 NOVEMBER 2008

Welcome to IAIA08 Conference Proceedings

In response to several recent surveys, IAIA members agreed that the current processes for impact assessment, strategic planning and resource management do not effectively address cumulative effects.

Experience with assessing and managing cumulative environmental effects in EIA dates back to the early seventies in the US, slightly later in Canada. Despite this track record, cumulative effects remain an area of continuing difficulty in impact assessment and resource management practice in nearly all countries.

Many practitioners also believe that cumulative effects are increasing in severity and across larger scales in time and space. In some cases, this is connected to global or world-wide changes, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, through processes and interactions that are not well understood. For most purposes, the regional or ecosystem level will provide the more appropriate framework for assessing and managing cumulative effects of policies, plans and projects, particularly against critical thresholds of resource productivity and ecosystem integrity, resilience and health. Ecosystem approaches are not only scientifically challenging but also typically expose institutional and policy gaps that impeded their translation into action.

This meeting highlighted the track record of our experience, focusing on what works well, what does not work and where improvements are needed in coming to grips with cumulative effects.

  • Program co-chair:Barry Sadler
  • Program co-chair:Larry Canter, Environmental Impact Training
  • Committee members:
    • William A. Ross, University of Calgary
    • Roger Creasey, Shell Global
    • Patrice LeBlanc, DFO-Government of Canada
    • Charlotte Bingham, Millennium Challenge Corporation
    • Tamra Faris, US-NOAA
    • Anne Southam, URS Corporation

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