Portfolio Decision Analysis Framework for Value-Focused Ecosystem Management

Matteo Convertino, L. James Valverde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Management of natural resources in coastal ecosystems is a complex process that is made more challenging by the need for stakeholders to confront the prospect of sea level rise and a host of other environmental stressors. This situation is especially true for coastal military installations, where resource managers need to balance conflicting objectives of environmental conservation against military mission. The development of restoration plans will necessitate incorporating stakeholder preferences, and will, moreover, require compliance with applicable federal/state laws and regulations. To promote the efficient allocation of scarce resources in space and time, we develop a portfolio decision analytic (PDA) framework that integrates models yielding policy-dependent predictions for changes in land cover and species metapopulations in response to restoration plans, under different climate change scenarios. In a manner that is somewhat analogous to financial portfolios, infrastructure and natural resources are classified as human and natural assets requiring management. The predictions serve as inputs to a Multi Criteria Decision Analysis model (MCDA) that is used to measure the benefits of restoration plans, as well as to construct Pareto frontiers that represent optimal portfolio allocations of restoration actions and resources. Optimal plans allow managers to maintain or increase asset values by contrasting the overall degradation of the habitat and possible increased risk of species decline against the benefits of mission success. The optimal combination of restoration actions that emerge from the PDA framework allows decision-makers to achieve higher environmental benefits, with equal or lower costs, than those achievable by adopting the myopic prescriptions of the MCDA model. The analytic framework presented here is generalizable for the selection of optimal management plans in any ecosystem where human use of the environment conflicts with the needs of threatened and endangered species. The PDA approach demonstrates the advantages of integrated, top-down management, versus bottom-up management approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere65056
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 18 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Portfolio Decision Analysis Framework for Value-Focused Ecosystem Management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this