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Recent advances in applying decision science to managing national forests

October 31, 2012

Management of federal public forests to meet sustainability goals and multiple use regulations is an immense challenge. To succeed, we suggest use of formal decision science procedures and tools in the context of structured decision making (SDM). SDM entails four stages: problem structuring (framing the problem and defining objectives and evaluation criteria), problem analysis (defining alternatives, evaluating likely consequences, identifying key uncertainties, and analyzing tradeoffs), decision point (identifying the preferred alternative), and implementation and monitoring the preferred alternative with adaptive management feedbacks. We list a wide array of models, techniques, and tools available for each stage, and provide three case studies of their selected use in National Forest land management and project plans. Successful use of SDM involves participation by decision-makers, analysts, scientists, and stakeholders. We suggest specific areas for training and instituting SDM to foster transparency, rigor, clarity, and inclusiveness in formal decision processes regarding management of national forests.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Recent advances in applying decision science to managing national forests
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.08.024
Authors Bruce G. Marcot, Matthew P. Thompson, Michael C. Runge, Frank R. Thompson, Steven McNulty, David Cleaves, Monica Tomosy, Larry A. Fisher, Bliss Andrew
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Forest Ecology and Management
Index ID 70040578
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center