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Forests 2015, 6(1), 65-87; doi:10.3390/f6010065

A Decision Support System for Assessing Trade-Offs between Ecosystem Management Goals: An Application in Portugal

1
Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Research Centre for Mathematics and Applications, Department of Mathematics, University of Évora, Portugal, Largo dos Colegiais 2, 7000 Évora, Portugal
3
School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, 214B Ferguson Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric J. Jokela
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 30 December 2014
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Abstract

Cork oak (Quercus suber L.) and holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia) ecosystems are characteristic of Mediterranean forestry in Portugal. Even though cork is the most valuable product, these ecosystems provide multiple products and services. Assessing trade-offs between multiple goals is thus critical for the effectiveness of oak ecosystem management planning. This paper focuses on the development of a decision support system for oak ecosystems’ scenario analysis including multiple criteria. It includes an innovative decision support systems (DSS) functionality to assess trade-offs between the criteria that may support negotiation and consensus building between decision-makers and forest stakeholders. Specifically, a module that encapsulates the Feasible Goals Method/Interactive Decision Maps (FGM/IDM) technique is developed for interactive visualization of the Pareto frontier. The Pareto frontier illustrates the degree to which improving one particular criterion requires accepting sacrifices in the achievements of others. It thus provides information about trade-offs between competing decision-makers’ preferences. Results are discussed for a large-scale application encompassing over 1 million ha of cork and holm oak forest ecosystems in Southern Portugal. This study demonstrates the potential of the new DSS functionality to enhance multi-objective forest planning, namely by facilitating participation by stakeholders and providing transparency to the decision-making processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: scenario analysis; forest management planning; cork oak; multiple-criteria decision-making; participatory planning; forest policy; multiple stakeholders scenario analysis; forest management planning; cork oak; multiple-criteria decision-making; participatory planning; forest policy; multiple stakeholders
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Garcia-Gonzalo, J.; Bushenkov, V.; McDill, M.E.; Borges, J.G. A Decision Support System for Assessing Trade-Offs between Ecosystem Management Goals: An Application in Portugal. Forests 2015, 6, 65-87.

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