Modelling and forecasting analysis

The ability to forecast, evaluate, and compare the future conditions of an ecosystem in response to the physical modifications is fundamental to the planning process.

The ultimate utility of a forecasting method lies in its ability to determine the best alternative from the range being evaluated, and to evaluate whether the said alternative is worth the investment of federal resources.

Some of the key components of forecasting include:

  • Identifying the specific physical and biological properties to be forecasted (relative to the metrics).
  • Determining the range of assumptions used to project future without-project and with-project conditions and project alternatives.
  • Establishing the scale and period of the analysis.
  • Identifying the uncertainties that will influence the accuracy and precision of the forecast.
  • Identifying an existing forecasting model to use or develop a new model tailored to the project.

The tools used for forecasting benefits range from professional judgment and simple index models to complex dynamic models that generate outputs for multiple ecosystem attributes. Regardless of the models used to forecast the ecosystem metrics, the accuracy and corresponding levels of uncertainty of a benefits forecast depend not only on the EBA model but on the choice and application of the underlying models used to forecast project effects and ecosystem metrics.