|Heilman, Philip - Phil|
Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: A Decision Support System (DSS) is a recent computer-based technology that allows the land use manager to evaluate existing and alternative land management systems. The results from the DSS can identify a preferred management system based on certain criteria. The prototype DSS developed at the Southwest Watershed Research Center evaluates each system using criteria that consider soil, water, plant and animal resources. However, the need to apply a DSS in natural resource management is outpacing the available databases. This increases the reliance on expert opinion. As a result, the effect of information sources on the outcome from the DSS is an important issue. In this work, measured data and expert opinion are used as information sources in the DSS analysis to identify a preferred management system for semiarid rangelands. When measured data are used, rotation grazing with mesquite removed is preferred, whereas yearlong grazing without mesquite is the preferred system when expert opinion is used. This outcome shows the importance of information sources and its effect on evaluating management systems using a DSS.
Technical Abstract: The need to apply decision support systems (DSS) in natural resource management is outpacing the available databases and increasing the reliance on expert opinion. As a result, the effect of information source on the outcome from the DSS has become an important issue. This paper compares the outcomes from a prototype DSS developed by the USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, when measured data and exper opinion are used to quantify eight decision criteria in the evaluation of four management systems for semiarid rangelands. When measured data are used, rotation grazing with mesquite removed is preferred, whereas yearlong grazing without mesquite is the preferred system when expert opinion is used. The association between experts and decision support systems is also discussed.