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International progress in cumulative effects assessment: a review of academic literature 2008–2018

Jill Blakley and Jessica Russell

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022, vol. 65, issue 2, 186-215

Abstract: This paper discusses trends in recent academic literature on cumulative effects assessment (CEA) in the field of environmental impact assessment (IA). We performed an inductive, thematic analysis of peer-reviewed literature published between 2008 and 2018. We find that most academic research on CEA originates in North America, and much of it is situated in periodicals other than the leading IA journals. There is agreement that CEA is still not well understood conceptually and there remains a need for procedural guidance as support for practitioners. Support for regional and strategic approaches to CEA remains strong. Our review of the literature also shows that, increasingly, researchers advocate estimating relative ecosystem vulnerability to anthropogenic activities by aggregating stressors and differentiating the most heavily disturbed valued components and impact zones. The paper concludes with our suggestions to strengthen CEA scholarship globally.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2021.1882408

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