Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 16, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A multiple objective decision methodology is proposed, described for evaluating watershed or ecosystem management with respect to both economic and environmental criteria. A proposed structure for determining a Rangeland Health Index will be presented and the methodology will be illustrated for a rangeland watershed in the southwestern United States. A Asimple algorithm based on linear and dynamic programming principles is presented that allows one to quickly compute the possible range of overall indicator value from the most optimistic to the most pessimistic (best to worst). The method is applied in the context of a hierarchical arrangement of the individual indicators or attributes. The overall or Total Indicator Value is computed without the need to specify or determine explicit weights on the individual ecosystem indicators. The decision tool is particularly useful for examining land areas from numerous, often conflicting, decision making viewpoints or by multiple decision makers. Changes to the priority order of the criteria or attributes at any level of the decision hierarchy can be made and the effect on the Total Indicator Value examined. Soil stability and watershed function, biodiversity, and animal production are major categories of indicators of rangeland health. The impact on the computation of a Rangeland Health Index of emphasizing the importance given to each of these areas over the others is examined.