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opinion prevails. MCDMs are useful in participatory planning since they encourage the participants to structure the decision making and discuss all important objects systematically. AHP is one of the most frequently used MCD techniques in forest planning (Ananda and Herath 2009, Brumec et al. 2013, Kangas and Kangas 2005, Pezdevšek Malovrh et al. 2012, Sheppard and Meitner 2005, Wolfslehner and Seidl 2010, Wolfslehner and Vacik 2008).
The structure of AHP consists of a hierarchy of the goal, criteria, subcriteria, and alternatives. The AHP method is based on pairwise comparisons. For paired comparisons, a fundamental scale of the AHP (Saaty 1980) from 1 to 9 is used. A reciprocal value is assigned to the inverse comparison. Comparisons between individual objectives are gathered in comparison matrix A.
Saaty (1980) presented the eigenvector method for deriving priorities in which, according to the comparison matrix A, the priority vector is obtained by solving the equation Aw = lmaxw, where lmax is the largest eigenvalue of matrix A:
In AHP, the group result (compromise or consensus) also depends on the initial degree of consensus among the stakeholders. In the case of independent stakeholders evaluating the defined set of alternatives, the result is usually a compromise. If stakeholders construct the common model and evaluate it individually, the main influence on the final consensus outcome presents the application of the mathematical aggregation model. The last possibility is a meeting of the group at which members generally have the same objectives. The group can then try to reach a consensus, first in terms of developing the hierarchy and then in generating pairwise comparisons. If they cannot reach a consensus regarding a particular judgment, they can vote or try to achieve a compromise (Dyer and Forman 1992). There are two types of aggregation (Forman and Peniwati 1998): aggregation of individual judgments and aggregation of individual priorities. Both cases have many models for aggregation in literature; most are compromises, but some are claimed to be consensual models.
In order to implement the described theoretical findings, a forest management application was made in Pohorje, a highland region that covers 840 km2 in northeastern Slovenia and is mostly covered with conifer forests. Due to impermeable ground, characteristic peaty bogs have formed. The forests provide habitats for numerous rare and endangered bird species. The main economic activities in Pohorje are forest exploitation, agriculture on the edge of the region, and tourism. Pohorje was declared a Natura 2000 site and an agreement for the development of the Pohorje regional park was signed.
The NATREG project – managing natural assets and protected areas as sustainable regional development opportunities (NATREG 2011) was conducted at Pohorje in 2009–2011. The project was managed by The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation with the objective of developing a management plan for Pohorje. Three workshops were organized to discuss forestry and hunting, agriculture, and tourism (Uratarič and Marega 2010); the case study presented here involves only forestry and hunting. Nineteen stakeholders responded to an invitation to the workshop: regional units of the Slovenia Forest Service, the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, the Hunting Association of Slovenia, and the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry. At the workshop, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis was conducted in the field of forestry and hunting in Pohorje (Lešnik Štuhec and Gulič 2010). The most important strengths are the potential of forest funds and the organization and long tradition of forestry and hunting. The greatest weakness is the publicly open forest infrastructure. The most significant opportunity and threat are both connected to tourism.
As part of the forestry and hunting workshop, participants also ranked the indicators of sustainability, ecological, economic, and socio-cultural objectives and evaluated them on a scale ranging from very irrelevant to very important (Nose Marolt and Lešnik Štuhec 2010). The mean values were calculated. The indicators with mean value greater or equal to 1 (important indicators) are presented in Figure 2.
The aim of our study was to select an optimal alternative for Pohorje’s development. We set the SWOT groups as criteria and the SWOT factors as sub-criteria of our model. We grouped the indicators into five groups; some groups