# The Sustainable Management of Land and Fisheries Resources Using Multicriteria Techniques: A Meta-Analysis

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

## 2. Materials and Methods

## 3. Results

## 4. Discussion

## 5. Conclusions

- Without considering the use of DEA, which is extensively deployed in the specific area of agriculture, the application of MCDM methods is somewhat similar in the three areas studied.
- The number of criteria included in the different applications is also similar in the three areas. However, it is important to note that the number of criteria considered is lower for continuous problems than for discrete ones. This could be explained by the fact that the computational complexity associated with the resolution of the continuous models considerably increases with the number of criteria considered.
- The criteria involved in decision-making modeling have to be normalized in all cases. This requirement is demanded independently of the field as well as of the MCDM method used.
- The choice of the particular MCDM method used is made, in most cases, in a somewhat arbitrary way. This type of mechanistic practice does not seem advisable. Thus, in general, the main features of the problem situation, to some extent, suggest the most suitable MCDM method to be used.
- The combined use of several MCDM methods for dealing with a specific problem was successfully applied. In this sense, the use of AHP for deriving the preferential weights and subsequently attaching them to a multicriteria optimization model is paradigmatic. Despite the wide use of the above case, the hybridization of MCDM methods is of current interest and seems to have many future developments.
- Modern democratic societies demand a participatory decision-making process for dealing with the management of natural resources. That is why the consideration of the preferential weights of different stakeholders with different perceptions with respect to the criteria considered is becoming of paramount importance.
- To deal successfully with the above crucial and challenging issue, it would seem useful to hybridize the MCDM methods with those approaches belonging to the GDM field. Although the published works following this orientation are currently very scant, it would appear to be a promising future line of work.
- The ecosystem services, climate change, and sustainability concepts have been recently incorporated as criteria in the management of the natural resources studied. Although the sustainability topic is widespread, the other orientations will seemingly be of key importance in future works in the field investigated. The same is expected of the term bioeconomy, whose popularity in academic spheres is even more recent.
- The merger of GIS and MCDM methods is dramatically increasing in forest management, although its use in agriculture and fisheries is fairly negligible. This fact might be explained by the importance of spatial dimension in forest management.

## Supplementary Materials

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

## Appendix A. Searches in WOS and Scopus

## References

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**Figure 3.**Frequency of multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) techniques. *TOPSIS: Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution; **PROMETHEE: Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations.

Number of papers analyzed | 628 | ||

Case study | |||

Agriculture | 323 | ||

Fisheries | 59 | ||

Forestry | 273 | ||

Number of countries | 87 | ||

Typology of journals | |||

Agriculture | 104 | ||

Fisheries | 36 | ||

Forestry | 128 | ||

Operations Research | 18 | ||

Multidisciplinary | 244 | ||

Other areas | 98 |

Justification of the MCDM method chosen | 45 | ||

Number of criteria | 97 | ||

Normalization of criteria | 314 | ||

Interaction with stakeholders | 278 | ||

Sensitivity analysis | 133 | ||

Method to assign weights to each criterion: | |||

Same vector of weights | 99 | ||

Implementation of a sensitivity analysis | 14 | ||

Requesting information from stakeholders | 89 | ||

Other | 238 | ||

Software used (specified by the authors) | 190 |

Statistical techniques | 225 | ||

Decision support systems (DSS) | 80 | ||

Nondeterministic | 98 | ||

GIS | 194 | ||

Sensitivity analysis | 133 |

Ecosystem services | 45 | ||

Climate change | 64 | ||

Multifunctionality/Multiple use | 59 | ||

Sustainability | 157 | ||

Bioeconomy | 9 | ||

Life cycle analysis | 20 |

Research Hypotheses | Method Used to Contrast the Hypothesis | Hypothesis Result |
---|---|---|

1. The application of the multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) techniques does not significantly differ in the three fields (agriculture, forestry, and fisheries), given that we have not seen any comparative studies that support the opposite. | Pearson’s chi-squared and Fisher’s exact test | Rejected |

2. The number of criteria used in MCDM problems is similar in the three fields (agriculture, forestry, and fisheries). | ANOVA test | Accepted |

3. The number of criteria is lower in continuous problems than in discrete ones. | Welch’s two-sample t-test and ANOVA test | Accepted |

4. There seems to be a lesser use of MCDM techniques that apply to continuous problems than others that can only be applied to discrete ones. | Welch’s two-sample t-test | Accepted |

5. There is no relationship between the use of a particular MCDM technique and the fact that the case studies are from one or from several countries. | Multinomial logistic regression | Accepted |

6. The use in the same problem of several MCDM techniques simultaneously has increased over time. | Welch’s two-sample t-test and temporal analysis | Accepted |

7. (A) The criteria involved are usually normalized, independently of the field to be used. | Chi-squared and Fisher’s exact test | Accepted |

(B) The criteria involved are usually normalized, independently of the multicriteria technique to be used. | Chi-squared and Fisher’s exact test | Rejected |

8. (A) The justification of why the method is chosen is not usually given, whichever method is used. | Fisher’s exact Test | Rejected |

(B) The justification of why the method is chosen is not usually given, whichever area it is applied in. | Fisher’s exact Test | Accepted |

9. AHP and weighted MCDM always go together. | Logistic regression and chi-squared test | Rejected |

10. Given the inclusion of methods such as AHP and weighted MCDM in different GIS packages, it seems logical to point out that there is a positive relationship between the use of AHP and its application to spatial problems. | Logistic regression and chi-squared test | Accepted |

11. AHP is used mostly to obtain weights from a set of stakeholders and/or experts and apply these weights to solve the problem in question. | Logistic regression and chi-squared test | Accepted |

12. The hybridization of MCDM and GDM has increased over time. | Welch’s two-sample t-test and temporal analysis | Accepted |

13. Given the nature of forestry problems the hybridization of GDM and MCDM techniques would seem to be more frequent in forestry. | Chi-squared test | Accepted |

14. The concepts of ecosystem services, climate change, and sustainability are recent and have only become important in recent years. | Welch’s two-sample t-test and temporal analysis | Accepted |

15. The topics that have been included as being relevant are only relevant in the last year range of the period. | Welch’s two-sample t-test and temporal analysis | Rejected |

16. There is a higher probability of using GIS hybridized with some MCDM techniques in the forestry area than in other fields. | Logistic regression and chi-squared test | Accepted |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Diaz-Balteiro, L.; Iglesias-Merchan, C.; Romero, C.; García de Jalón, S. The Sustainable Management of Land and Fisheries Resources Using Multicriteria Techniques: A Meta-Analysis. *Land* **2020**, *9*, 380.
https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100380

**AMA Style**

Diaz-Balteiro L, Iglesias-Merchan C, Romero C, García de Jalón S. The Sustainable Management of Land and Fisheries Resources Using Multicriteria Techniques: A Meta-Analysis. *Land*. 2020; 9(10):380.
https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100380

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Diaz-Balteiro, Luis, Carlos Iglesias-Merchan, Carlos Romero, and Silvestre García de Jalón. 2020. "The Sustainable Management of Land and Fisheries Resources Using Multicriteria Techniques: A Meta-Analysis" *Land* 9, no. 10: 380.
https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100380