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Uncertainty and Forest Land Use Allocation in British Columbia: Vague Priorities and Imprecise Coefficients

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Recently, increasing weight has been placed on nontimber values in forest management. Both the multiple objectives and the parameters that support decision making in forestry are often imprecise and vague. In this paper, the concepts of fuzzy set theory are explained and then applied to the problem of allocating public forestland on Vancouver Island among competing land uses. Two principal sources of fuzziness are identified--those related to uncertainty in classification (specification of management objectives) and those related to uncertainty concerning how actions affect objectives (imprecise technical coefficients). By comparing the results of classical and fuzzy decision models, we conclude that the latter approach can be judged an improvement over the former. The fuzzy land-use allocation appears to be more consistent with the political decision making process, which relies on consultation and consensus-seeking among various interest groups, that has evolved in British Columbia. The analysis also yields insights into the robustness of outcomes and suggests priority areas for further research. For. Sci. 43(4):509-520.

Keywords: Multiple-objective management; fuzzy set theory; uncertainty

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada:, Fax: 604-822-6970

Publication date: 1997-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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