Decision support for selecting SLM technologies with stakeholders

Schwilch, G. and Bachmann, F. and Graaff, J.D (2012) Decision support for selecting SLM technologies with stakeholders. Applied Geography, 34. pp. 86-98.

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Sustainable Land Management (SLM) is a classic multi-stakeholder issue, concerning individual and community land users, agricultural advisors, natural resource managers, government authorities, civil society, and researchers alike. Selecting appropriate SLM technologies for implementation requires an approach capable of integrating the diverse knowledge, perceptions, and judgements of stakeholders. Time and resource constraints often impede the development of contextualised, targeted, and sophisticated Decision Support Systems (DSS). The EU-DESIRE research project provided an excellent opportunity to develop and test a generic decision support system, and overall methodology, using it to assist 14 study site teams in selecting the most promising SLM option(s) in a stakeholder workshop, for eventual test implementation in the field. Special attention was paid to screening local innovations, selecting and adapting potential SLM technologies, and the decision-making process regarding effective implementation. This paper reviews application of the DESIRE-DSS in a variety of biophysical and socio-economic contexts, finding it to be well structured, holistic, and relatively easy-to-apply. The built-in global database of SLM options provides knowledge from various environments, while the use of simple software enables easy calculation and visualisation of results. The scoring and negotiation of each option’s sustainability forces stakeholders to consider and acknowledge each other’s positions and opinions, ensuring that the final choice is well-accepted. The methodology includes seeking commitments from stakeholders to implement the selected option(s). Challenges include the complexity of the issues at hand and the need for capable moderators. Yet positive outcomes and user feedback confirm that the DESIRE-DSS is an easy-to-use stepwise methodology for facilitation of decision-focused participatory processes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research described in this paper was conducted within the framework of the EC-DG RTD, 6th Framework Research Programme (sub-priority, Research on Desertification, project DESIRE (037046): Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land e a global approach for local solutions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainable Land Management (SLM), Decision support, Stakeholder participation
Author Affiliation: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 10, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Subjects: Atmosperic Science
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2012 07:30
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2012 07:30
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