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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Balancing different forest values: Evaluation of forest management scenarios in a multi-criteria decision analysis framework

Eggers, Jeannette; Holmgren, Sara; Nordstrom, Eva-Maria; Lamas, Tomas; Lind, Torgny; Ohman, Karin


Besides traditional timber production, other forest functions, such as biodiversity and recreation, have gained increasing importance during the last few decades. Demands on forests have become more diversified, thus making forest management and planning more complex. To meet these challenges, there is a growing interest in a more diversified silviculture, for which a number of different management options are available. However, it remains unclear how the various management options affect economic, ecological, and social aspects of sustainable forest management. Hence, in this study, we assess the consequences of various management options on different aspects of sustainable forest management through scenario analysis using a forestry decision support system. We evaluate 10 different forest management scenarios for two contrasting municipalities in Sweden, based on expert participation by way of a web-based multi-criteria decision analysis framework. We asked experts in economic, ecological, and social forest values, as well as those in reindeer husbandry, to weigh a number of indicators in their field of expertise against each other, and to create value functions for each indicator. We then determined scenario ranking for different sets of weights for economic, ecological and social forest values. Our results indicate that current management practices are favorable for economic aspects (wood production), while a number of scenarios would be better suited to fulfill the Swedish co-equal forest policy goal of production and consideration of environmental issues, such as scenarios with longer rotation periods, a larger share of set-asides and a higher share of continuous cover forestry. These measures would be beneficial not only for ecological values, but also for social values and for reindeer husbandry. Furthermore, we found that expert participation through the web-tool was a promising alternative to physical meetings that require more commitment in terms of time and resources.


Multi-criteria decision analysis; Value functions; Expert participation; Forest management scenarios; Sustainable forest management

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2019, Volume: 103, pages: 55-69