Structured Decision Making

A Practical Guide to Environmental Management Choices

Written by Robin Gregory** and Lee Failing*, with Michael Harstone*, Graham Long*, Tim McDaniels*** and Dan Ohlson*.

* Compass Resource Management ; ** UBC, Decision Research; *** UBC

This book is about the creative and messy process of making environmental management decisions. The approach we describe is called Structured Decision Making, a distinctly pragmatic label given to ways for helping individuals and groups think through tough multi-dimensional choices characterized by uncertain science, diverse stakeholders, and difficult trade-offs. This is the everyday reality of environmental management.

“I have been engaged in scientific analysis to inform environmental decision making for 35 years and have seen/read a number of excellent books on decision analysis, beginning with Howard Raiffa’s 1968 text. Gregory et al. is clearly one of the very best. Well-written and comprehensive, this book is one I plan to recommend strongly to students and colleagues.”

– Kenneth Reckhow, April 2012

“I have been working in natural resource management for my entire career and I found Gregory et al. to be truly inspirational. Their book addresses the ultimate challenge of trading off environmental, economic and social interests. Thorough, comprehensive, easy to read and well organized, this book is a delight to read. Many real life examples are presented about how structured decision-making was applied to a wide range of issues in situations ranging from those where there was little data, to those where there was a lot of information. This book challenges the conventional wisdom of approaches to natural resource management in the context of decision-making. Whether you are the scientist or economist who provides data to senior managers, whether you are in the public or private sector, or whether you are a member of a multi-stakeholder group who must make difficult environmental versus economic trade-off recommendations, you will find this book to be most informative. I highly recommend this book.”

– Allan Locke, February 2013

“I recommend this book to anyone who must function at the interface between environmental science and decision making.  Even if you do not have the opportunity to implement the full structured decision-making process, it will give you a better idea of how to think about your role and those of the other parties. The authors write clearly and forcefully.”

– Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM), October 1, 2012

“I highly recommend the groundbreaking and very accessible book Structured Decision Making: A Practical Guide to Environmental Management Choices by Robin Gregory, Lee Failing, Michael Harstone, Graham Long, Tim McDaniels, Dan Ohlson, to anyone in resource management, risk analysis, land use planning, industry leadership, environmental NGOs, facilitation and negotiation, government, policy making, academia, and undergraduate or graduate studies who is seeking a clear and concise approach to developing workable solutions to even the most challenging environmental problems.”  

– Blog Business World, 13 August 2012