Decision Support Systems (DSS) for the Analysis of Pathways That Optimize Ecosystem Services Provision

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Landscape Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 5481

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Forest Resource Management, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
Interests: forest management; forest economics; forestry; natural resource management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests provide a wide range of products and services, but among the most urgent demands put on forest ecosystems is contributing to climate mitigation, which is why forests are given an important function for achieving climate objectives in the Paris agreement. Other initiatives, such as the EU Green Deal process, emphasize the efficient use of natural resources by moving to a circular economy and restoring biodiversity, among others.

People benefit from forest ecosystem goods and services such as nutrition and access to clean air and water, all of which affect human wellbeing. The sustained provision of these services and the aspirations on forests are therefore hotly debated among scientists as well as among other interested parties. The task of balancing the many demands on forests places policy makers and forest owners in need of reliable, valid, and comprehensive decision support systems (DSS) for the analysis of forest management strategies. In particular, there is a necessity for DSSs that support the development of long-term strategies for landscapes and regions where the complex interdependence of different ecosystem services and other values is accounted for.

The objectives of this Special Issue are to gather knowledge of the current state of the art of forest decision support technologies and methods to identify new directions of DSS development. This Special Issue has the support of the MSCA-RISE-2020 project DecisionES—Decision Support for the Supply of Ecosystem Services under Global Change ( and the ERA-NET Cofund ForestValue project NOBEL—Novel business models and mechanisms for the sustainable supply of and payment for forest ecosystem services ( and may contribute to a more complete list of system descriptions on the ForestDSS CoP repository (

This Special Issue is sponsored by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Unit 4.04.04—Sustainable Forest Management Scheduling.

Prof. Dr. Ljusk Ola Eriksson
Prof. Dr. José Borges
Prof. Dr. Harald Vacik
Guest Editors

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  • decision support system
  • long term
  • landscape
  • region
  • ecosystem services
  • climate mitigation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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22 pages, 7908 KiB  
A Participatory and Spatial Multicriteria Decision Approach to Prioritize the Allocation of Ecosystem Services to Management Units
by Marlene Marques, Keith M. Reynolds, Susete Marques, Marco Marto, Steve Paplanus and José G. Borges
Land 2021, 10(7), 747; - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3533
Forest management planning can be challenging when allocating multiple ecosystem services (ESs) to management units (MUs), given the potentially conflicting management priorities of actors. We developed a methodology to spatially allocate ESs to MUs, according to the objectives of four interest groups—civil society, [...] Read more.
Forest management planning can be challenging when allocating multiple ecosystem services (ESs) to management units (MUs), given the potentially conflicting management priorities of actors. We developed a methodology to spatially allocate ESs to MUs, according to the objectives of four interest groups—civil society, forest owners, market agents, and public administration. We applied a Group Multicriteria Spatial Decision Support System approach, combining (a) Multicriteria Decision Analysis to weight the decision models; (b) a focus group and a multicriteria Pareto frontier method to negotiate a consensual solution for seven ESs; and (c) the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) system to prioritize the allocation of ESs to MUs. We report findings from an application to a joint collaborative management area (ZIF of Vale do Sousa) in northwestern Portugal. The forest owners selected wood production as the first ES allocation priority, with lower priorities for other ESs. In opposition, the civil society assigned the highest allocation priorities to biodiversity, cork, and carbon stock, with the lowest priority being assigned to wood production. The civil society had the highest mean rank of allocation priority scores. We found significant differences in priority scores between the civil society and the other three groups, highlighting the civil society and market agents as the most discordant groups. We spatially evaluated potential for conflicts among group ESs allocation priorities. The findings suggest that this approach can be helpful to decision makers, increasing the effectiveness of forest management plan implementation. Full article
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