A decision support system for assessing trade-offs between ecosystem management goals: An application in portugal

Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo, Vladimir Bushenkov, Marc E. McDill, José G. Borges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-87
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry


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