This book is about the creative and messy process of making environmental management decisions. The approach we describe is called Structured Decision Making, a distinctly pragmatic label given to ways for helping individuals and groups think through tough multidimensional choices characterized by uncertain science, diverse stakeholders, and difficult tradeoffs. This is the everyday reality of environmental management, yet many important decisions currently are made on an ad hoc basis that lacks a solid value-based foundation, ignores key information, and results in selection of an inferior alternative. Making progress in a way that is rigorous, inclusive, defensible and transparent requires combining analytical methods drawn from the decision sciences and applied ecology with deliberative insights from cognitive psychology, facilitation and negotiation.

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