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Applying Stochastic Multicriteria Acceptability Analysis to Forest Ecosystem Management with Both Cardinal and Ordinal Criteria

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Multicriteria decision analysis is applied to ecosystem management planning in a forest landscape. Ten alternative action plans were evaluated employing five criteria. For some criteria, cardinal measures with their associated uncertainties were obtained. For other criteria, only ordinal (ranking) information was available. The Stochastic Multicriteria Acceptability Analysis with Ordinal criteria (SMAA-O) method was used, as it accommodates both cardinal and ordinal data. This is the first application of SMAA methods to forest management. SMAA-O represents inaccurate or uncertain cardinal criteria measurements by a joint probability distribution. Ordinal data is converted into stochastic cardinal data by simulating mappings between ordinal and cardinal scales that preserve the given rankings. At the same time, the unknown or partly known preferences of the decision maker are simulated by choosing weights randomly from appropriate distributions. The main results of the analysis are “acceptability indices” that describe the variety of different weights that support an alternative for a given rank. The special characteristics of SMAA-O are best utilized in problems involving uncertainty and where both cardinal and ordinal data are to be employed. It also serves well as an analysis tool in interactive planning processes, especially when criteria weights are not known or they are difficult to assess. FOR. SCI. 49(6):928–937.
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Keywords: Decision analysis; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest planning; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; landscape ecology; multicriteria decision support; natural resource management; natural resources; sustainable forestry

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Professor UPM-Kymmene Forest, P.O. Box 32 Valkeakoski, FIN-37601, Phone: +358-20-416121; Fax: +358-20-416120 2: Bureau Chief Environmental Management, Paavo Ristola Ltd, Väinönkatu 6, Jyväskylä, Finland, FIN-40100, Phone: +358-14-620655 3: Professor Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 23 Helsingin yliopisto, Finland, FIN-00014, Phone: +358-9-19158177 4: Professor Department of Information Technology, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 14 A, Turku, Finland, FIN-20520, Phone: +358-40-5031030 5: Professor School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35 Jyväskylä, Finland, FIN-40351,

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 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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