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Report, 2007

The use of multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) in participatory forest planning

Nordström, Eva-Maria


New approaches and methods are needed in forest management planning to incorporate forest values other than timber production and to help solve interest conflicts. A potentially powerful tool in the work for sustainable forest management (SFM) and participation is multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA), an approach which can make it possible to handle complex decision situations involving conflicting interests and several stakeholders. This paper examines eleven case studies where participation is applied in forest management planning situations with multiple stakeholders and multiple objectives, with special focus on cases where MCDA has been used. The main questions are: (1) What level of participation is employed in the cases? (2) How is the MCDA process structured in the cases? (3) What MCDA methods have been used in the cases? A theoretical framework on participation and MCDA is described and used to evaluate the case studies. The level of participation is in all cases such that power is not really redistributed between decision makers and participants. The case studies are mainly focussed on the technical methodology, while the participatory process is treated in short and often lack a thorough account. In this review, most cases are situations where the problem is to choose from a limited set of discrete alternatives; this might be a consequence of the fact that presenting prepared alternatives facilitate the participatory process. Value measurement models are the most frequently used technique in the cases, ahead of both goal level and outranking models. An explanation is that the value measurement models are attributed to be transparent, which is an advantage in a participatory process. Another reason might be that value measurement is a well known approach


case studies; decision making; participatory ladder; stakeholder

Published in

Arbetsrapport / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för skoglig resurshushållning
2007, number: 2007:163
Publisher: SLU skoglig Resurshushållning