Decision-support tools used in the Baltic Sea area: performance and end-user preferences

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Nygård, H., van Beest, F.M., Bergqvist, L. et al. Decision-Support Tools Used in the Baltic Sea Area: Performance and End-User Preferences. Environmental Management 66, 1024–1038 (2020).

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Title: Decision-support tools used in the Baltic Sea area: performance and end-user preferences
Author: Nygård, Henrik; van Beest, Floris M.; Bergqvist, Lisa; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hasler, Berit; Schumacher, Johanna; Schernewski, Gerald; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Fleming, Vivi
Publisher: Springer Link
Date: 2020
Language: en
Belongs to series: Environmental Management 66(6) (2020)
ISSN: 0364-152X
Abstract: 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
Subject: marine management
decision making
ecosystem approach
Baltic Sea
Subject (ysa): merenhoito
ekosysteemin lähestymistapa
Rights: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

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