Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 1204–1218

A Decision Support Framework for Science-Based, Multi-Stakeholder Deliberation: A Coral Reef Example

  • Amanda P. Rehr
  • Mitchell J. Small
  • Patricia Bradley
  • William S. Fisher
  • Ann Vega
  • Kelly Black
  • Tom Stockton


We present a decision support framework for science-based assessment and multi-stakeholder deliberation. The framework consists of two parts: a DPSIR (Drivers–Pressures–States–Impacts–Responses) analysis to identify the important causal relationships among anthropogenic environmental stressors, processes, and outcomes; and a Decision Landscape analysis to depict the legal, social, and institutional dimensions of environmental decisions. The Decision Landscape incorporates interactions among government agencies, regulated businesses, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders. It also identifies where scientific information regarding environmental processes is collected and transmitted to improve knowledge about elements of the DPSIR and to improve the scientific basis for decisions. Our application of the decision support framework to coral reef protection and restoration in the Florida Keys focusing on anthropogenic stressors, such as wastewater, proved to be successful and offered several insights. Using information from a management plan, it was possible to capture the current state of the science with a DPSIR analysis as well as important decision options, decision makers and applicable laws with a the Decision Landscape analysis. A structured elicitation of values and beliefs conducted at a coral reef management workshop held in Key West, Florida provided a diversity of opinion and also indicated a prioritization of several environmental stressors affecting coral reef health. The integrated DPSIR/Decision landscape framework for the Florida Keys developed based on the elicited opinion and the DPSIR analysis can be used to inform management decisions, to reveal the role that further scientific information and research might play to populate the framework, and to facilitate better-informed agreement among participants.


Decision support framework Environmental decision making Environmental management Multiple stakeholders Elicitation Scientific input Valuation Ecosystem services DPSIR 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda P. Rehr
    • 1
  • Mitchell J. Small
    • 2
  • Patricia Bradley
    • 3
  • William S. Fisher
    • 4
  • Ann Vega
    • 5
  • Kelly Black
    • 6
  • Tom Stockton
    • 7
  1. 1.Northwest Fisheries Science Center, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Civil & Environmental; Engineering and Engineering & Public PolicyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology DivisionOffice of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, c/o Florida Keys National Marine SanctuaryKey WestUSA
  4. 4.National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology DivisionOffice of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyGulf BreezeUSA
  5. 5.National Risk Management Research Laboratory, LRPCD/RRBOffice of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA
  6. 6.Neptune and Company, IncLakewoodUSA
  7. 7.Neptune and Company, IncLos AlamosUSA

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