Sustainable forestry decisions: on the interface between technology and participation

Anna Lawrence, Amy Stewart


The complexity of forest management decisions has been increasing for the last two decades.   These changes affect the type of decision support needed, the context and methods in which they are used, and the processes for developing them. In this paper we examine how these changes and challenges have been addressed in the literature around decision support for sustainable forest management (DSFM). The kinds of tools fall into two categories. Those which help to analyse stakeholder preferences and choose a management option, are relatively well developed and have been tested in a few locations. Those tools which model forest management and provide the options on which such choices are based, on the other hand, seem to be more isolated from the social context. Most of the scientific literature on forest decision-making tools does not offer any analysis of the social and institutional processes of designing, testing or using such tools. We highlight the potential for studies of the social and institutional context, processes and impacts of DSS use, in overcoming some of the gaps between science and practice in forest management. MCFNS 3(1):42-52.


participation; stakeholder engagement; forestry institutions

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