IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Multiple-criteria decision analysis for integrated catchment management

Listed author(s):
  • Prato, Tony
  • Herath, Gamini

Implementation of Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) is hampered by the lack of a conceptual framework for explaining how landowners select farming systems for their properties. Benefit-cost analysis (a procedure that estimates the costs and benefits of alternative actions or policies) has limitations in this regard, which might be overcome by using multiplecriteria decision analysis (MCDA). MCDA evaluates and ranks alternatives based on a landowner’s preferences (weights) for multiple criteria and the values of those criteria. A MCDA approach to ICM is superior to benefit-cost analysis which focuses only on the monetary benefits and costs, because it: 1) recognizes that human activities within a catchment are motivated by multiple and often competing criteria and/or constraints; 2) does not require monetary valuation of criteria; 3) allows trade-offs between criteria to be measured and evaluated; 4) explicitly considers how the spatial configuration of farming systems in a catchment influences the values of criteria; 5) is comprehensive, knowledge-based, and stakeholder oriented which greatly increases the likelihood of resolving catchment problems; and 6) allows consideration of the fairness and sustainability of land and water resource management decisions. A MCDA based on an additive, multiple-criteria utility function containing five economic and environmental criteria was used to score and rank five farming systems. The rankings were based on the average criteria weights for a sample of 20 farmers in a US catchment. The most profitable farming system was the lowest-ranked farming system. Three possible reasons for this result are 2 evaluated. First, the MCDA method might cause respondents to express socially acceptable attitudes towards environmental criteria even when they are not important from a personal viewpoint. Second, the MCDA method could inflate the ranks of less profitable farming systems for the simple reason that it allows the respondent to ass
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (August)
Pages: 627-632

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:63:y:2007:i:2-3:p:627-632
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Cameron, John I., 1997. "Applying socio-ecological economics: A case study of contingent valuation and integrated catchment management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 155-165, November.
  2. Prato, Tony & Fulcher, Chris & Wu, Shunxiang & Ma, Jian, 1996. "Multiple-Objective Decision Making for Agroecosystem Management," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 200-212, October.
  3. G. Fischer & M. Makowski & J. Antoine, 1996. "Multiple Criteria Land Use Analysis," Working Papers wp96006, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  4. M. Makowski, 1994. "Methodology and a Modular Tool for Multiple Criteria Analysis of LP Models," Working Papers wp94102, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  5. Xu, Feng & Prato, Tony & Ma, Jian, 1995. "A Farm-Level Case Study of Sustainable Agricultural Production," Staff General Research Papers Archive 837, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Strassert, Gunter & Prato, Tony, 2002. "Selecting farming systems using a new multiple criteria decision model: the balancing and ranking method," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 269-277, February.
  7. Prato, Anthony A. & Fulcher, Christopher L. & Wu, Shunxiang & Ma, Jian, 1996. "Multiple-Objective Decision Making For Agroecosystem Management," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 25(2), October.
  8. M. Makowski & L. Somlyody & D. Watkins, 1995. "Multiple Criteria Analysis for Regional Water Quality Management: the Nitra River Case," Working Papers wp95022, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:63:y:2007:i:2-3:p:627-632. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.