Under the radar: Mitigating enigmatic ecological impacts

Keren Raiter, H.P. Possingham, S.M. Prober, Richard Hobbs

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    51 Citations (Scopus)
    302 Downloads (Pure)


    Identifying the deleterious ecological effects of developments, such as roads, mining, and urban expansion, is essential for informing development decisions and identifying appropriate mitigation actions. However, there are many types of ecological impacts that slip 'under the radar' of conventional impact evaluations and undermine the potential for successful impact mitigation (including offsets). These 'enigmatic' impacts include those that are small but act cumulatively; those outside of the area directly considered in the evaluation; those not detectable with the methods, paradigms, or spatiotemporal scales used to detect them; those facilitated, but not directly caused, by development; and synergistic impact interactions. Here, we propose a framework for conceptualising enigmatic impacts and discuss ways to address them.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)635-644
    Number of pages10
    JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
    Issue number11
    Early online date27 Sep 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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