Sustainable forestry decisions: On the interface between technology and participation

Anna Lawrence, Amy Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the evidence for successful participatory forest decision-making which uses computer-based tools. Both the technical and social complexity of forest decision-making are increasing, as managers seek to forecast and provide goods and services on a sustainable basis, while also interacting with a wide range of stakeholders. The paper draws on forest science and management literature, environmental studies and social science to review experiences of success in combining the challenges of participation and technological advancement. It shows that, while there is no shortage of literature outlining methods and processes, the perceptions, attitudes and values of the stakeholders may constrain implementation. The approaches rely on decision support tools, whose workings may be incomprehensible to some of the stakeholders. The paper highlights the concept of 'usability' to assess the value of such tools, and uses case studies to illustrate the need for users to contribute to the design and testing of the tools. More documentation is needed to help understand which tools are used, adopted, and lead to useful outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalMathematical and Computational Forestry and Natural-Resource Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2011


  • Forestry institutions
  • Participation
  • Stakeholder engagement


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