Lackey, R. 1997. Ecological risk assessment: use, abuse, and alternatives. Environmental Management 21 (6):808-812.
Ecological systems are complicated and ecological consequences of decisions are often difficult for the ecologist to grasp, much less those without ecological risk assessment. Furthermore, analysts and scientists involved in ecological risk assessment are using a tool that most to the public does not comprehend; thus the danger of misuse through miscommunication, unintentional or otherwise, is great. There is no scientific or ecological imperative in risk assessment; it is only a tool to help those charged with making decisions evaluate options. Those involved in ecological research and assessment should remember that risk assessment is the latest of a large number of tools and approaches that have played on the scientific and management stage with great fanfare. These tools and approaches have each evolved to be useful in certain, clearly defined circumstances. Ecological risk assessment is undergoing a similar transformation.