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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) in Forest Operations - an Introductional Review

Blagojevic, Bosko; Jonsson, Rikard; Bjorheden, Rolf; Nordstrom, Eva-Maria; Lindroos, Ola


Decision making in forestry is very complex and requires consideration of trade-offs among economic, environmental, and social criteria. Different multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods have been developed for structuring and exploring the decision-making process of such problems. Although MCDA methods are often used for forest management problems, they are rarely used for forest operation problems. This indicates that scholars and practitioners working with forest operations are either unaware of MCDA methods, or see no benefit in using these methods. Therefore, the prime objective of this review was to make MCDA methods more intelligible (compared with current level of understanding) to novice users within the field of forest operations. For that purpose, basic ideas as well as the strengths and limitations of selected MCDA methods are presented. The second objective was to review applications of MCDA methods in forest operations. The review showed that MCDA applications are suitable for forest operation problems on all three planning levels - strategic, tactical, and operational - but with least use on the operational level. This is attributed to: 1) limited availability of temporally relevant and correct data, 2) lack of time (execution of MCDA methods is time consuming), and 3) many operational planning problems are solved with regards to an economic criterion, with other criteria serving more as frames. However, with increased importance of environmental and social aspects, incorporating MCDA methods into the decision-making process on the operational planning horizon (e.g., by developing MCDA-based guidelines for forestry work) is essential.


multi-criteria decision analysis; decision-making; forest operations

Published in

Croatian Journal Of Forest Engineering
2019, volume: 40, number: 1, pages: 191-205

Authors' information

Blagojevic, Bosko
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology
Jonsson, Rikard
Forestry Res Inst Sweden Skogforsk
Bjorheden, Rolf
Forestry Res Inst Sweden Skogforsk
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

URI (permanent link to this page)