Implementing science in environmental assessment - a review of theory
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Despite a growing body of literature addressing the scientific requirements of competent environmental assessment (EA), practice remains contested. This study aims first to provide an overview of scientific developments associated with EA since the 1970s, as evidenced in the peer-reviewed literature. The second objective is to judge, on the basis only of evidence in the peer-reviewed literature, whether scientific theory and practice are at their vanguard in EA and related applications. Through the review, I reflect on biophysical science as it applies to stages of the EA process. I also reflect on debates surrounding the role of science as it relates to political and administrative dimensions of EA. Based on this review, I am convinced that science inside EA has not kept pace with developments in science outside EA. I also believe that improvements to the quality of science in EA will rely on the adoption of stronger participatory and collaborative working arrangements.