Decision-Support Tools Used in the Baltic Sea Area: Performance and End-User Preferences

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Henrik Nygård, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finland
  • Floris van Beest
  • Lisa Bergqvist, Stockholm University
  • ,
  • Jacob Carstensen
  • Bo Gustafsson, Baltic Nest Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Berit Hasler
  • J Schumacher, Klaipeda University
  • ,
  • Gerald Schernewski, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Klaipeda University, Germany
  • Alexander Sokolov, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Marianne Zandersen
  • Vivi Fleming, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Decision-support tools (DSTs) synthesize complex information to assist environmental managers in the decision-making process. Here, we review DSTs applied in the Baltic Sea area, to investigate how well the ecosystem approach is reflected in them, how different environmental problems are covered, and how well the tools meet the needs of the end users. The DSTs were evaluated based on (i) a set of performance criteria, (ii) information on end user preferences, (iii) how end users had been involved in tool development, and (iv) what experiences developers/hosts had on the use of the tools. We found that DSTs frequently addressed management needs related to eutrophication, biodiversity loss, or contaminant pollution. The majority of the DSTs addressed human activities, their pressures, or environmental status changes, but they seldom provided solutions for a complete ecosystem approach. In general, the DSTs were scientifically documented and transparent, but confidence in the outputs was poorly communicated. End user preferences were, apart from the shortcomings in communicating uncertainty, well accounted for in the DSTs. Although end users were commonly consulted during the DST development phase, they were not usually part of the development team. Answers from developers/hosts indicate that DSTs are not applied to their full potential. Deeper involvement of end users in the development phase could potentially increase the value and impact of DSTs. As a way forward, we propose streamlining the outputs of specific DSTs, so that they can be combined to a holistic insight of the consequences of management actions and serve the ecosystem approach in a better manner.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume66
Issue6
Pages (from-to)1024-1038
Number of pages15
ISSN0364-152X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • Baltic Sea, DAPSIWRM, Decision-making, Ecosystem approach, Marine management

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 196429710