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J Environ Manage. 2003 Jun;68(2):193-205.

A quantitative method for accounting human opinion, preferences and perceptions in ecosystem management.

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  • 1Laboratory of Ecological Engineering and Technology, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, 67100 Xanthi, Greece.


Ecosystem management (EM) is a holistic approach, in which public participation in decision-making, and incorporation of human preferences, needs and perceptions in management plans is a main element. The decision-making from human opinion method (DeMHO), presented here, can be used in EM in selecting the more suitable and socially acceptable management plan, in order to protect or restore an ecosystem. The method focuses on the quantification of the human opinion, preferences and perceptions, which are investigated after research on the local population of the ecosystem. The results of this research are the inputs of the method; multi-criteria decision-making procedures, such as the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), the expected utility method (EUM) and compromise programming (CP) are used to assign the appropriate weights and rank according to their importance the interest groups, the issues to be studied, and the alternative management plans. The alternatives are also evaluated by assessing their sustainable character. The paper presents DeMHO and its application in the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace in Greece, after a research through a questionnaire on the local population.

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