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Participatory Modeling and Structured Decision Making

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Environmental Modeling with Stakeholders

Abstract

Structured decision making (SDM) provides a framework for making sound decisions even when faced with uncertainty, and is a transparent, defensible, and replicable method used to understand complex problems. A hallmark of SDM is the explicit incorporation of values and science, which often includes participation from multiple stakeholders, helping to garner trust and ultimately result in a decision that is more likely to be implemented. The core steps in the SDM process are used to structure thinking about natural resources management choices, and include: (1) properly defining the problem and the decision context, (2) determining the objectives that help describe the aspirations of the decision maker, (3) devising management actions or alternatives that can achieve those objectives, (4) evaluating the outcomes or consequences of each alternative on each of the objectives, (5) evaluating trade-offs, and (6) implementing the decision. Participatory modeling for SDM includes engaging stakeholders in some or all of the steps of the SDM process listed above. In addition, participatory modeling often is crucial for creating qualitative and quantitative models of how the system works, providing data for these models, and eliciting expert opinion when data are unavailable. In these ways, SDM provides a framework for decision making in natural resources management that includes participation from stakeholder groups throughout the process, including the modeling phase.

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Acknowledgments

We thank M. Eaton, W. Siemer, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments on this chapter.

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Correspondence to A. K. Fuller .

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Robinson, K.F., Fuller, A.K. (2017). Participatory Modeling and Structured Decision Making. In: Gray, S., Paolisso, M., Jordan, R., Gray, S. (eds) Environmental Modeling with Stakeholders. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25053-3_5

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