Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/21/2012
Publication Date: 12/20/2012
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/56304
Citation: Svejcar, A.J., Boyd, C.S. 2012. The value of decision models: Using ecologically based invasive plant management as an example. Rangelands. 34(6):2-5. Interpretive Summary: Sound decision-making is critical in the management of our rangeland resources. In many cases decisions about grazing, rangeland restoration, or weed management are complex and involve multiple steps. There are compelling examples from medicine, aviation, construction, and other professions, where simple checklists have dramatically improved decision-making. In this paper we present a 5 step process for making decisions about rangeland weed management. This approach allows incorporation of research and management knowledge, and provides a framework that allows managers to explain their decisions to others.
Technical Abstract: Humans have both fast and slow thought processes which influence our judgment and decision-making. The fast system is intuitive and valuable for decisions which do not require multiple steps or the application of logic or statistics. However, many decisions in natural resources are complex and require that we not make entirely intuitive decisions. Simple decision tools, such as checklists, can be used to ensure that we analyze the current situation before making decisions. Ecologically-based invasive plant management is an example of a framework that provides a step-wise approach to decision-making for rangeland weed issues. Many professions operate with systems of checklists or decision models which ensure decisions are based on the best current knowledge and are consistent. There are a number of natural human tendencies that cause us all to skip important steps in the decision-making process and the checklist approach helps overcome this problem. These lists are some of the simplest decision tools we can employ. For a variety of reasons checklists have not been widely adopted in rangeland or natural resource management. Our objectives here are to: 1) provide a brief overview of decision-making theory and the specialty area of judgment and decision-making (JDM), 2) discuss the reasons that ignoring decision tools can limit our success, 3) describe examples of simple decision models used in other professions, and 4) present Ecologically-Based Invasive Plant Management (EBIPM) as an example of a decision model in rangeland weed management.