Review. Assessing uncertainty and risk in forest planning and decision support systems: review of classical methods and introduction of new approaches

M. Pasalodos-Tato, A. Mäkinen, J. Garcia-Gonzalo, J.G. Borges, T. Lämås, L.O. Eriksson


Aim: Since forest planning is characterized by long time horizon and it typically involves large areas of land and numerous stakeholders, uncertainty and risk should play an important role when developing forest management plans. The aim of this study is to review different methods to deal with risk and uncertainty in forest planning, listing problems that forest managers may face during the preparation of management plans and trying to give recommendations in regard to the application of each method according to the problem case. The inclusion of risk and uncertainty in decision support systems is also analyzed.

Area: It covers the temporal and spatial scale of forest planning, the spatial context, the participation process, the objectives dimensions and the good and services addressed.

Material and methods: Several hundreds of articles dealing with uncertainty and risk were identified regarding different forestry-related topics and approaches. Form them, around 170 articles were further reviewed, categorized and evaluated.

Main results: The study presents a thorough review and classification of methods and approaches to consider risk and uncertainty in forest planning. Moreover, new approaches are introduced, showing the opportunities that their application present in forest planning.

Research highlights: The study can aid forest managers in the decision making process when designing a forest management plan considering risk and uncertainty.

Keywords: operations research; optimal alternative; stochastic risk; endogenous risk; stand level; forest level.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013222-03063