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Reconciling Value Conflicts in Regional Forest Planning in Australia: A Decision Theoretic Approach

  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science


The Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) programme introduced in the 1990s, in Australia to protect environmental values, encourage job creation and growth and manage forests in an ecologically sustainable manner. Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) techniques were used in this study to assess their potential for examining the RFA policy. The empirical study of the North East Victoria RFA using MCDA attempted to explore the potential of these techniques. The results indicate that the old-growth forest is the most valued attribute and timber production appeared important. The most preferred forest land management option was option A with a high level of conservation and low level of native timber extraction which differed from the government option for North East Victoria. This observation highlights the fact that non-incorporation of stakeholder preferences into public decision making in forest management can lead to decisions not acceptable to a majority of stakeholders. The three methods namely AHP, MAVT and MAUT provide similar ranking of options. despite the different theoretical bases of the three MCDA techniques. The major implication of this research is that better forest management policies can be developed if we can incorporate stakeholder preferences explicitly.

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