Models of the Information Flows and Decision Making Process

Models of the Information Flows and Decision Making Process

Loretta Perrella (Bournemouth University, UK), Kathy H. Hodder (Bournemouth University, UK), Julie A. Ewald (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK) and Robert Kenward (Anatrack Ltd, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch004
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During pilot surveys at local level, individual stakeholders and officials in local government were asked to list the main environmental issues for which they needed to make decisions, and then to select sources of information they used in each case. Overall, habitats were in the most important information topic for decisions, followed by socio-economics, species, and hazards. However, models of information flows showed great variation in the priorities and the main sources across the stakeholder categories and tiers of local government.
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The ultimate objective of TESS is to design a transactional environmental decision support system, linking central policy planning to local livelihoods. The project aims to assist policy makers to integrate knowledge from the EU, national, regional and local level into the decision making process. There are several aspects of decision making that need to be considered in the design of a support system: information needs and flow; the processes that are to be influenced by the decision and the decision making process itself (Wierzbicki et al. 2000).

A survey of local governments and other stakeholders across the partner countries characterised the use of information on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the environmental decision making process in Chapters 2 and 3. A variety of information flows, analysis approaches and decision processes used for environmental assessment and sustainability assessment for biodiversity were identified by discussions with government departments (Chapter 2) and local case-study sites (Chapter 3) across a limited range of countries, in which partners were based and in which governance approaches were likely to differ. Combining their results revealed complex interactions and patterns of information flows between local, regional and national decision makers.

Conceptual models serve as a key planning and evaluation tools in conservation projects and are useful tools for expressing interactions in complex systems (Margoluis et al. 2009). They are used in information systems development to represent static or dynamic phenomena and to articulate user requirements (Wand & Weber 2002). In this case, conceptual models are used to illustrate the flow of information between local and central governments and local stakeholders. The conceptual modelling format is then used with information from survey across all European states (Chapter 6) to illustrate these flows clearly in Chapter 7.

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