An interdisciplinary team of Washington State University researchers has just been awarded a $1.6 million grant to study under what conditions are individuals, groups and institutions likely to follow rules about the environment “to the letter” versus exercising discretion or making new rules.

John Harrison.

“In the realm of science-based environmental management, it is useful to have flexibility to adapt to changing conditions, but it is also good to have clear rules as a basis for making investments toward long-term goals,” said John Harrison, Edward R. Meyer distinguished professor in the School of the Environment at WSU Vancouver and principal investigator on the grant from the National Science Foundation’s Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems program.

“Climate and societal change are increasingly volatile, making it nearly impossible to envision every possible scenario — like what should be done when the unexpected happens? — or how often should rules be changed as our scientific understanding of environmental systems advances?”

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