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Über dieses Buch

This book is the result of some years of research carried out at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The awareness of actual and potential conflicts between economic progress in production, consumption, and technology and the environment has led to the concept of "sustainable development", implying that economic and ecological values are well balanced in evaluation and decision making. The linkages between ecosystems and economic systems are the focus of ecological economics. In ecological economics, a multidimensional approach to economic and policy-making is emphasised. In this book, the introduction of multicriteria decision aid techniques in the framework of ecological economics is widely discussed. Since such techniques are based on a "constructive" rationality and allow one to take into account conflictual, multidimensional, incommensurable and uncertain effects of decisions, they can be considered perfectly consistent with the methodological foundations of ecological economics. Since here the assumption is accepted that efficiency, equity and sustainability are the three conflictual values of economics, a mathematical procedure able to deal with these issues in an operational framework is developed, with a particular view on imprecise information in a practical environmental planning context. Given the problem of the differences in the measurement levels of the variables used for economic-ecological modelling, multicriteria methods able to deal with mixed information (both qualitative and quantitative measurements) can be considered particularly useful. Another problem related to the available information concerns the uncertainty (stochastic and/or fuzzy) contained in this information.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Environmental Issues and Evaluation Methods

Chapter 1. Environmental Issues and Evaluation Methods

Abstract
The growth of world population and the rapid growth of economic activity have caused environmental stress in all socio-economic systems. There is a wide scientific consensus that problems such as greenhouse effect (and climate change), ozone depletion, acid rain, loss of biodiversity, toxic pollution and renewable and non-renewable resource depletion are clear symptoms of environmental unsustainability.
Giuseppe Munda

Theoretical Analysis of Cost-Benefit Analysis and Multicriteria Evaluation

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. From Environmental Economics to Ecological Economics

Abstract
Traditional neo-classical economics analises the process of price formation by considering the economy as a closed system: firms sell goods and services, and then they remunerate the production factors (land, labour and capital). It is interesting to note that while classical economists such as Malthus [1798], Ricardo [1817], Mill [1857] and Marx [1867] had clear in their minds that economic activity is bounded by the environment, neo-classical economics completely forgot this important characteristic of real world economies up till to the seventies when it was started the debate on social and environmental limits to economic growth1. Real economy started to be seen as an open system that in order to function must extract resources from the environment and dispose large amounts of waste back into the environment. This is the so-called materials balance model [Ayres & Kneese, 1969; Kneese et al., 1970].
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 3. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Abstract
In Chapter 2 it has been shown that according to Neo-Classical economic theory, decision processes are based on two premises. The maximisation premise on behaviour states that “economic men” (individuals and groups) try to maximise their objective function (especially welfare for individuals and profit for enterprises) and individual welfare judgements are the ultimate criterion. The weighting premise on evaluation states that all relevant changes as a consequence of economic decisions can be expressed in a welfare-related, one-dimensional entity, so that costs and benefits of all alternatives can be reduced to neat (ordinal) balance figures that can be ranked. These two premises imply the use of monetary evaluation methods. A monetary evaluation is characterised by an attempt to measure all effects in monetary units, whereas a non-monetary evaluation utilises a wide variety of measurement units to asses the effects. Cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis are well-known examples of a monetary evaluation.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 4. Multiple Criteria Evaluation Methods

Abstract
Environmental management is essentially conflict analysis characterised by technical, socio-economic, environmental and political value judgements. Therefore, in an environmental planning process it is very difficult to arrive at straightforward and unambiguous solutions. This implies that such a multi-related planning process will always be characterised by the search for acceptable compromise solutions, an activity which requires an adequate evaluation methodology. Multiple criteria evaluation techniques aim at providing such a set of tools. Multicriteria methods provide a flexible way of dealing with qualitative multidimensional environmental effects of decisions. However, this does not mean that multicriteria evaluation is a panacea which can be used in all circumstances without difficulties; it has its own problems.
Giuseppe Munda

Multicriteria Evaluation in a Fuzzy Environment

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Fuzzy Uncertainty in Decision Models

Abstract
In this Chapter, we will illustrate some basic concepts of fuzzy set theory. Given the enormous amount of literature on this field, only the concepts necessary to the understanding of the rest of the book will be presented.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 6. Comparison of Fuzzy Sets: A New Semantic Distance

Abstract
In Chapter 5 it has been shown that an important problem in traditional discrete multicriteria methods in a fuzzy environment is the comparison of fuzzy sets. Here, first a concise overview of some other methods aiming at comparing fuzzy sets will be presented, and then a new approach based on the concept of a semantic distance, using areas instead of extreme values or values at the point of intersection, will be illustrated.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 7. Multicriteria Evaluation in a Fuzzy Environment: The Naiade Method

Abstract
Since the complexity of environmental problems is high, there is a clear need for models offering a comprehensible and operational representation of a real-world environmental system. Qualitative aspects are hard to deal with in traditional models and therefore there is a clear need for methods that are able to take into account information of a “mixed” type (both qualitative and quantitative measurements). Traditional qualitative multichteria approaches take into consideration the case where information on an ordinal scale is present. A problem, related to all multicriteria methods that try to take mixed information into account is the problem of equivalence of the procedures used in standardising the various evaluations of the performance of alternatives according to different criteria. Another problem related to the available information concerns the uncertainty (stochastic and/or fuzzy) contained in this information. Therefore, the combination of different levels of measurement with different types of uncertainty has to be considered as an important research issue in multicriteria evaluation.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 8. A Fuzzy Cluster Procedure for Environmental Conflict Analysis

Abstract
Generally, ecosystems are used in several ways at the same time by a number of different users. Such situations lead almost always to conflicts of interest and damage to the environment. Thus, in the area of environmental and resource management and in policies aiming at an ecologically sustainable development, many conflicting issues and interests emerge.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 9. Sensitivity Analysis in the NAIADE Method

Abstract
In a constructive decision aid framework, there is a need for an elicitation process requiring precise information. This process means that the decisionmaker’s judgements are encoded by parameters p, the space of parameters being P. However, it may be difficult to elicit the information to build them exactly. Hence, two not necessarily mutually exclusive, cases arise [Rios Insua, 1990]:
  • the decision-maker is not able to locate p precisely, but he may give some constraints on it (decision making under partial information);
  • the decision-maker gives an estimate π of p, but, feeling doubtful about it, he asks for some help to identify which of his judgements are the critical ones in order to think about them more closely. In this case there is a need for sensitivity analysis.
Giuseppe Munda

Application to a Real-World Environmental Management Problem

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. The River Po Basin Environmental Policy. Background Information and Analytical Framework

Abstract
In this part of the study, we will apply the methods developed earlier to a real-world environmental management problem in the river Po basin. Chapter 10 will describe the main characteristics of the case study; in Chapter 11 the decision analysis will be carried out.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 11. The Po Delta Natural Park: The “Boscone Della Mesola” Environmental Management Problem

Abstract
On the basis of the data supplied by the present Falce Valley farmers (checked with privileged observers from the Ferrara Agricultural Inspectorate and INEA) the agricultural operation balance has been reconstructed by IDROSER.
Giuseppe Munda

Chapter 12. Conclusions: Retrospect and Prospect

Summary
The growth of world population and the rapid growth of economic activity have caused environmental stress in all socio-economic systems. The awareness of actual and potential conflicts between economic progress in production, consumption, and technology and the environment has led to the concept of “sustainable development”.
Given the complexity inherent in the concept of sustainable development, any method trying to operationalize this in a planning context, can be considered a kind of “second best”. This is the main reason why the less ambitious concept of “environmental management” has been preferred here.
In order to operationalize environmental management in a regional context, issues such as economic-ecological integration, multiple use, inter-regional spatial links and trade-offs, and uncertainty are of a fundamental importance. In Part A, it has been argued that most of these issues can be tackled by multicriteria evaluation in an efficient way. Since multicriteria techniques are based on a “constructive” rationality and allow one to take into account conflictual, multidimensional, incommensurable and uncertain effects of decisions, they can be considered perfectly consistent with the methodological foundations of ecological economics.
Since spatial-environmental systems are complex systems characterised by subjectivity, incompleteness and imprecision, Part B deals with multicriteria evaluation in a fuzzy environment; since the comparison of fuzzy sets is one of the most important open problems, a new approach based on the use of areas instead of traditional intersections has been illustrated. This approach is also suitable for the problem of equivalence of the procedures used in order to standardise different kinds of criterion scores typical of qualitative multicriteria evaluation. Thus, a new qualitative multicriteria method, the so-called NAIADE method has been developed. Its main characteristic is the possibility of dealing with crisp, fuzzy and stochastic criterion scores simultaneously.
A fuzzy conflict resolution procedure aimed to be integrated with the NAIADE method has also been presented; by means of this procedure equity issues may also be taken into consideration.
In Part C, all the developed mathematical procedures have been applied to a real-world environmental management problem.
Giuseppe Munda

Backmatter

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