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The Challenge of Diffusion in Forest Plans: A Methodological Proposal and Case Study
Open AccessArticle

Validation of a Methodology for Confidence-Based Participatory Forest Management

1
SILVANET, Research Group for Sustainable Environmental Management, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Buildings, Infrastructures and Projects for Rural and Environmental Engineering (BIPREE), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(7), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070399
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Participatory Forestry: Involvement, Information and Science)
This paper formulates a new strategy for participatory forest management consisting of encouraging public participation as long as it increases empathy among participants. The strategy requires the homogeneous representation of the opinion of a participant (i.e., to determine how they assess a forest plan and identify the best one). Utility assessments are prepared for participants through pair-comparisons between meaningful points in the territory and from value functions based on forest indicators. The best plan is designed by applying combinatorial optimization algorithms to the utility of a participant. The calculating of empathy—of one participant relative to another—is based on the equivalence of their respective utilities when the current forest plan is modified. This involves calculating the opinions that are due to systematic changes in the collective plan for those participants that each participant supposes will affect the utility of the other participants. Calculating empathy also requires knowing the interactions among participants, which have been incorporated through agent-based simulation models. Application of the above methodology has confirmed the association between increases in empathy and convergence of opinions in different scenarios: well and medium-informed participants and with and without interaction among them, which verifies the proposed strategy. In addition, this strategy is easily integrated into available information systems and its outcomes show advantages over current participatory applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: public participation; AI decision-making algorithms; empathetic utility functions; assessment of sustainability public participation; AI decision-making algorithms; empathetic utility functions; assessment of sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martínez-Falero, E.; González-García, C.; García-Abril, A.; Ayuga-Téllez, E. Validation of a Methodology for Confidence-Based Participatory Forest Management. Forests 2018, 9, 399.

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