Development and evaluation of multiple criteria decision-making approaches to watershed management Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bn999988c

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  • Decision-making in environmental management is complex due to the multiplicity arid diversity of management objectives and technological choices. This suggests that modelers and experts could utilize (I) multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) approaches to assist stakeholder groups in integrating and synthesizing relevant data and information to address ecological and socio-economic concerns and (2) uncertainty approaches to quantify the risks related to the impact of decision alternatives. Since decisions made under uncertainty and MCDM methods have been studied almost independently, most of the MCDM approaches do not address the uncertainties of real world decision situations. This dissertation presents the use of a MCDM methodology and its related decision-making tool, RESTORE. RESTORE is an integrative geographical information system-based decision-making tool that was developed to help watershed councils prioritize and evaluate restoration activities at the watershed level. RESTORE's deterministic performance evaluation module is developed from experts' knowledge and experiences. However, to filly address the complexity of the various landscape processes and human subjectivity, RESTORE should involve uncertainties inherent to experts' knowledge. No single method is able to model all types of uncertainty, therefore the examination of various uncertainty theories is critical before selecting one best suited to a specific decision context. This work explores three uncertainty theories: certainty factor model, Dempster-Shafer theory, and fuzzy set theory. To evaluate these methods in a MCDM watershed restoration context, we (1) identified criteria to assess the suitability of a method for a specific MCDM context, (2) characterized each theory in terms of the identified criteria using RESTORE, and (3) applied each theory using RESTORE. Special emphasis was given to the development of a comprehensive fuzzy MCDM methodology. Uncertainty-based MCDM approaches provide a valuable tool in analyzing complex watershed management issues. When used properly, the proposed MCDM methodology allows decision-makers (DMs) to explore a broader range of drivers and consequences. The inclusion of uncertainty analysis provides DMs with meaningful information on the quality of the evidence supporting the impact of a decision alternative, allowing them to make more informed decisions.
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