Parallel and comparative use of three multicriteria decision support methods in an environmental portfolio problem

Mika Marttunen*, Arto Haara, Turo Hjerppe, Mikko Kurttila, Juuso Liesiö, Jyri Mustajoki, Heli Saarikoski, Anne Tolvanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Environmental management problems are often portfolio problems where the task is to find a set of actions that meets different objectives (e.g., the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) and constraints (e.g., costs). We report experiences from deploying multiple operations research (OR) methods in a real decision-making setting and discuss the insights gained from this process. The applied methods were Multi-Attribute Value Theory (MAVT), the project portfolio selection tool Your Own Decision Aid (YODA) and Robust Portfolio Modelling (RPM). The methods were applied in a portfolio case evaluating three peatland rewetting options (“No action”, “Restoration”, “Damming”) for 79 drained peatland stands in an important recreational and nature conservation area in southern Finland. The pros and cons of the methods were evaluated, as well as their key methodological challenges, in a participatory environmental portfolio case. The applied methods yielded similar results in terms of the superiority of rewetting options. The strength of MAVT was its ability to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of all three rewetting options for a single peatland stand. YODA's strength was its simplicity and the possibility to apply it independently via the Internet. RPM made it possible to determine the priority of peatland stands within constraints, even without precise preference information. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic evaluation of three methods representing different ‘method categories’ (MAVT, multi-criteria elimination, portfolio decision analysis) applied to a real environmental problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-859
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Early online date10 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Behavioural operational research
  • Decision support systems
  • Multiple criteria analysis
  • Portfolio decision analysis
  • Stakeholder involvement


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