FCMappers starts cooperation with Multi-Criteria Evaluation System OPTamos developed within the EU-project ROBIN
OPTamos was developed in the European FP7 project ROBIN. ROBIN stands for: “Role of Biodiversity in Climate Change Mitigation”.
The aim of OPTamos is to assist in the decision processes about land-use in the context of multi-stakeholder settings. Already in ROBIN the combination of FCM and Multi-Criteria Evaluation was tested and proved very useful.
The aim of the cooperation is to formalize the links between OPTamos and FCMappers and provide a seamless integration of the two approaches useful for practitioners and teaching.
For more information on OPTamos & ROBIN visit: http://robinproject.info
FCM can serve as a tool to involve stakeholders who are either the key actors of land-use and land-cover change or affected by conservation management in one way or the other - including scientists, conservation managers or lay people. It provides means of exploring, analyzing and communicating their perceptions of a landscape or socio-ecological systems in general (see also Kontogianni et al 2012a and Kontogianni et al 2012b). Through its strong participative and interactive character, FCM is especially suitable to foster learning processes and to contribute to conflict management. Additionally it makes it possible to combine subjective and objective elements of science and other knowledge systems e.g. local or traditional knowledge and to display and analyze them in a consistent way.
When conducting FCMs special care has to be given that the logic of causal relations is followed and no confusion with e.g. system dynamic stock and flow approach occurs.
The strengths of FCM are its ability to combine diverse knowledge covering all aspects in a socio-ecological landscape its potential for providing a basis for social learning among inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary teams and to direct thinking towards a problem solving approach.
FCM and the Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation (SMCE) / or Multi Criteria Assessment software OPTamos (Options for Participatory Transformation and Management of Sustainable land use)
The participative process of drawing FCMs has proved to provide valuable inputs for Multi-Criteria Evaluation systems like OPTamos, which in turn are easier to use in concrete decision aiding processes.
FCM can help in the initial process (Approaching phase) of SMCE by providing a process to identify important issues and stakeholders and, when done in groups, help to arrive at a shared understanding of the system under question and so make it easier to develop the possible options to choose from.
In this way a first basis is created to pick the criterions and options which can then be analyzed in OPTamos. The advantage of using FCM, is that stakeholders can be involved in a structured way in the process. Using FCM helps as the often abstract meanings and implications of the different criterions have been discussed and shared by the group. As FCM also focuses on the interlinkage and interdependencies of events it will also help to discover criterions or options missing at first sight or only represented in a single stakeholder group.
The weights needed to indicate relative importance of the different components of the SMCE process can be derived from the FCMs as the relative importance of the different concepts (that represent e.g. events) can be derived via the centrality of the concepts in the FCM.
The Software OPtamos
The aim of OPTamos is to provide an easy to use and free software to practitioners who want to use MCA in their work. It is based on the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method (see Saaty, 1980), which combines information provided by stakeholders and produces a ranking of optional pathways.
Kontogianni, A., Papageorgiou, E., Salomatina, L., Skourtos, M., Zanou, B., 2012 a. Risks for the Black Sea Marine Environment as Perceived by Ukrainian Stakeholders: A Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping Application, Ocean and Coastal Management Journal, Elsevier, February 2012, (IF=1.661). DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.006
Kontogianni,A., Papageorgiou, E.I. and Tourkolias, C., 2012 b. "How do you perceive environmental change? Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping informing stakeholder analysis for environmental policy making and non-market valuation" in Applied Soft Computing, in press, June 2012. (IF=2.64) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asoc.2012.05.003