1. Defining the problem
The tasks involved in this phase are
1. Identification of stakeholders
- It means finding out who are affected by the decisions, and who should therefore be involved.
2. Knowledge gathering and sharing
- It means gathering local or expert knowledge and sharing it with other stakeholders. For example, it might mean locating certain (socially, culturally or ecologically) valuable places (e.g. Hytönen et al 2002, Tyrväinen et al. 2007) or evaluating the effect of a given option of forestry on the criteria and indicators (e.g. Kangas et al. 2000, Mustajoki et al. 2011).
- Suitable tools/DSS for the former include, for instance, participatory GIS tools , for the latter e.g. MCA tools such as AHP  and SMART, and KM methods , for instance the Delphi method .
3. Formulating criteria
- It means clarifying the goals the stakeholders have (e.g. Tikkanen et al. 2006)
- Suitable tools include e.g. cognitive mapping , brainstorming methods , and other groupwork methods.
4. Definition of criteria
- It means, for instance, that measurable (numerical) indicators for the criteria are defined.
- Suitable tools include e.g. MCA tools such as AHP.
5. Eliciting preferences
- It means gathering the information of the preferences of stakeholders over different options for action, and for the criteria and indicators.
- Suitable tools include e.g. MCA tools or different voting methods.
What forest DSS are suitable for defining a problem?
Hytönen, L.A., Leskinen, P. & Store, R. 2002. A spatial approach to participatory planning in forestry decision making. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 17:62-71.
Kangas, J., Store, R., Leskinen, P. & Mehtätalo, L. 2000. Improving the quality of landscape ecological forest planning by utilizing advanced decision-support tools. Forest Ecology and Management 132:157-171.
Mustajoki J., Saarikoski H., Marttunen M., Ahtikoski A., Hallikainen V., Helle T., Hyppönen M., Jokinen M., Naskali A., Tuulentie S., Varmola M., Vatanen E., Ylisirniö A.L. 2011. Use of decision analysis interviews to support the sustainable use of the forests in Finnish Upper Lapland. Journal of Environmental Management 92: 1550-1563.
Tikkanen, J., Isokääntä, T. Pykäläinen, J. and Leskinen, P. 2006. Applying cognitive mapping approach to explore the objective structure of forest owners in a Northern Finnish case area. Forest Policy and Economics 9: 139-152.
Tyrväinen, L., Mäkinen, K. & Schipperijn, J. 2007. Tools for mapping social values of urban woodlands and other green areas. Landscape and Urban Planning79:5-19.