Use of Multicriteria Decision Analysis to Address Conservation Conflicts

A. L. Davies*, R. Bryce, S. M. Redpath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Conservation conflicts are increasing on a global scale and instruments for reconciling competing interests are urgently needed. Multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) is a structured, decision-support process that can facilitate dialogue between groups with differing interests and incorporate human and environmental dimensions of conflict. MCDA is a structured and transparent method of breaking down complex problems and incorporating multiple objectives. The value of this process for addressing major challenges in conservation conflict management is that MCDA helps in setting realistic goals; entails a transparent decision-making process; and addresses mistrust, differing world views, cross-scale issues, patchy or contested information, and inflexible legislative tools. Overall we believe MCDA provides a valuable decision-support tool, particularly for increasing awareness of the effects of particular values and choices for working toward negotiated compromise, although an awareness of the effect of methodological choices and the limitations of the method is vital before applying it in conflict situations. Uso de Analisis de Decisiones Multicriterio para Abordar Conflictos de Conservacion

Resumen Los conflictos de conservacion estan incrementando en una escala global y se necesitan urgentemente instrumentos para reconciliar los intereses en competencia. El analisis de decisiones multicriterio (ADMC) es un proceso estructurado de apoyo a toma de decisiones que puede facilitar el dialogo entre grupos con intereses contrastantes e incorporar las dimensiones humanas y ambientales del conflicto. ADMC es un metodo estructurado y transparente de descomposicion de problemas complejos e incorporacion de objetivos multiples. El valor de este proceso para efrentar a grandes obstaculos en el manejo de conflictos de conservacion es que ADMC ayuda en la definicion de metas reales, implica un proceso transparente de toma de decisiones y atiende a la desconfianza, visiones mundiales diferentes, asuntos transescalares, informacion turbia o impugnada y herramientas legislativas inflexibles. En general creemos que ADMC proporciona una herramienta valiosa de apoyo a la toma de decisiones, particularmente para incrementar la conciencia de los efectos de valores particulares y opciones para trabajar hacia compromisos negociados, aunque una conciencia de los efectos de las opciones metodologicas y las limitaciones del metodo es vital antes de aplicarlo en situaciones de conflictos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-944
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number5
Early online date21 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007‐2013) under grant agreement 212160.


  • conservation planning
  • decision-support tools
  • environmental conflict
  • negotiating trade-offs
  • stakeholder participation
  • conflicto ambiental
  • herramientas de apoyo de decision
  • negociacion de pros y contras
  • participacion de interesados
  • planeacion de la conservacion


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