A Practical Decision-Analysis Process for Forest Ecosystem Management
Many authors have pointed out the need to firm up the 'fuzzy' ecosystem management paradigm and develop operationally practical processes to allow forest managers to accommodate more effectively the continuing rapid change in societal perspectives and goals. There are three spatial scales where clear, precise, practical ecosystem management processes are needed: the regional assessment scale, the forest-level scale, and the project-level scale. This paper proposes a practical decision analysis process for ecosystem management at the project-level scale. Goals are the focal point of management. To achieve them requires a formal, structured goal hierarchy, desired future conditions, several interesting alternatives, scenario analysis, and monitoring and evaluation of the results. The proposed process is firmly grounded in the body of theory and practice organized in the scientific literature under the heading of multi-objective decision analysis. An illustrative example of this decision analysis process is presented using the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, NC as a test case.