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World Applied Programming, Vol (3), Issue (10), October 2013.

522-528
ISSN: 2222-2510
2013 WAP journal. www.tijournals.com

Formulating Forest Management Strategies


Using ELECTRE Method
(Case Study: District 2 Nav, Asalem, Guilan, Iran)
Tooba Abedi

Mohammad Ghamgosar

Institute of Environmental Research,


Academic Center for Education, Culture
and Research (ACECR), Rasht, Iran.
t_abedi@erijd.ir

Institute of Environmental Research, Academic


Center for Education, Culture and Research
(ACECR), Rasht, Iran.
ghamgodarmohammad@gmail.com

Abstract: In this paper, we determine effective management strategy for Hyrcanian forest in the Asalem of
Guilan Province by Multi-criteria decision making method. ELECTRE method is used in this study that
programming it in mat lab. Easiness to use and understand the method, and interpretability of the results are
important qualities of the method applied. Three strategies were formulated for the study area including
Commercial strategy, Forest recreation and Conservation strategy with 3 criteria as business, forest recreation
values and nature conservation values and 14 criterion variables containing area of commercial forests,
revenues of products, volume of cutting from commercial forests, stand stock, area of productive forests, costs
of cutting, area of recreational forests, area of commercial forests with recreational values, area of closed forest,
area of conservation forest, area of commercial forests with conservation values, dead wood volume, natural
reserves and area of old forests. Ranking the strategies based on ELECTRE method show Conservation strategy
is prefer as the best management strategy for the study area. Commercial strategy is in second rank and
Recreational strategy the last one is.
Keywords: Forest management strategy, Multi-Criteria Decision Making, Management planning, ELECTRE
I.

INTRODUCTION

Forest resource planning is a very complex problem mainly due to the multiplicity of wide-ranging criteria involved in
the underlying decision-making process (Balteiro & Romero, 2008).
The aim in forest planning is to provide support for forestry decision making so that an efficient strategy best fulfilling
the objectives set for the management of the forest area under planning can be found (Kangas et.al, 2001b).
Decision-makers have not only economic objectives but also those of amenity and non-market values of recreation and
nature conservation, for instance. Research on natural resources planning has answered these challenges by applying and
developing decision support methods and techniques for multiple criteria and participatory planning (Kangas et.al,
2001a).
Multi-objectivity is typical for current forestry: forests should produce reasonable incomes while at the same time
promoting conservation and recreational considerations. Criteria other than those related to wood production have been
given more and more weight in the choice of management alternatives (Kangas et.al, 2001b).
The forest planning is just base on commercial value and cutting in northern forest of Iran (Hyrcanian forest), then we
seek to found a multi objective method to formulated forest strategies to contain all values of the forest.
Outranking methods serve as one alternative for approaching complex choice problems with multiple criteria and
multiple participants. Outranking indicates the degree of dominance of one alternative over another (Kangas et.al,
2001a).

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Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

The ELECTRE method that is utilized in this study can be considered as a non-compensatory model. It means that a
really bad score of any alternative with respect to any one criterion cannot necessarily be compensated for by good
scores in other criteria.
The ELECTRE methods have originally been developed by Bernard Roy (1968). Several versions of the ELECTRE
method have been presented for different situations: ELECTRE I and IS are designed for selection problems, ELECTRE
TRI for sorting problems and ELECTRE II, III and IV for ranking problems. ELECTRE II is an older version, where an
abrupt change from indifference to strict preference is assumed instead of pseudo-criteria (Al-Shemmeri et al., 1997).
We use ELECTRE I in this study.
Bertier and Montgolfier (1974) applied the ELECTRE method to the choice of a suburban highway design inside a forest
area.
Salminen et al. (1998) compared the performance of the PROMETHEE, SMART, and ELECTRE III methods
specifically because of their suitability in the context of environmental decision-making. The authors found little
difference in performance between SMART and PROMETHEE, but felt that ELECTRE III had some extra functionality.
Leyva-Lpez and Fernndez-Gonzlez (2003) conducted a comparative study of PROMETHEE II for group decision
with an extension of the ELECTRE III multi-criteria outranking methodology.
Gilliams et al. (2005) compared AHP with other discrete multi-criteria methods (i.e., ELECTRE, and three types of the
PROMETHEE approach) in a case where the purpose of the research was to choose the best afforestation alternative in
Belgium. These alternatives were different afforestation practices, locations and the length of the afforestation period.
The authors concluded that, for some issues, PROMETHEE worked slightly better than the other two methods.
Pauwels et al. (2007) resorted to ELECTRE for comparing several silvicultural alternatives of Larix stands in Belgium
taking into account criteria related to biodiversity and stability when the stands faced potential windstorm damage.
Hayashida et al. (2010) examined effective policies for financing and activities to select activity of the forest on Mount
Ryuoh in the city of Higashi-Hiroshima by multi attribute utility analysis. They deal with decision making problems with
multiple attributes and select the most effective solution among several alternatives by deriving preference of the
decision maker. They used several alternatives of social systems for financing for preservation of the forest in which all
the people receiving the benefit from the forest and proposed preservation the forest.
II.

MATERIAL AND METHOD

Study area
The study area is district 2 of Nav includes 3527 ha of public forest in the Hyrcanian forest belt with an altitudinal range
from 280 to 2120 a.s.l and geographic coordination is 37 37 23 to 37 42 31 north and 48 44 36 to 48 49 58 . It
is located in west of Guilan province in Asalem. The forest type is Fagetum-orientalis with glorious landscape of cloudy
in high altitude.
Method
Fagetum community is an important communities of hardwood deciduous forest of north of Iran. Therefore, their
biodiversity and wood production is very important for implementing of forest planning based on close to nature
forestry. To determine a suitable management strategy to obtain the success for the forest planning is considerable. Then,
in this study, initially, three strategies following different scenarios were formulated in the planning project of Nav forest
of Guilan. The impacts of the strategies were measured by numeric criterion variables and they were estimated through
planning calculations. The criteria were selected by group decision making experts meeting and their values were
extracted from Forest Management Plan of District 2 of Nav that accessible from Administration of Natural Resources
and Watershed Management of Guilan. The Commercial strategy (A1) emphasized economical aspects, the Forest
recreation (A2) and Conservation strategy (A3) emphasized the related goals, respectively, Including 3 criteria and 14
criterion variables (table 1).

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Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

TABLE I. The strategies, criteria and their variables applied in Forest of Nav
Strategy
Commercial

Criterion
Business

Criterion variable
Area of commercial forests
Revenues of products
Volume of cutting from commercial forests
Stand stock
Area of productive forests
Costs of cutting

Recreational

Forest recreation values

Area of recreational forests


Area of commercial forests with recreational values

Conservation

Area of closed forest


Area of conservation forest
Area of commercial forests with conservation values
Dead wood volume
Area of old forests
Natural reserves

Nature conservation values

The values of criterion variables measured in their own units (m3, monetary units and hectares etc.) which were
scaled on a fixed interval between 1 and 10, ascending.
Benefits related to business revenues were measured by using the area of commercial forests, revenues of products,
volume of cutting from commercial forests, stand stock, area of productive forests and costs of cutting. Forest recreation
values were measured by the area of recreational forests, area of commercial forests with recreational values and area of
closed forest. The third main criterion was the nature conservation value, measured by the area of conservation forest,
area of commercial forests with conservation values, dead wood volume, area of old forests and natural reserves.
ELECTRE I should be applied only when all the criteria have been coded in numerical scales with identical ranges. In
such a situation we can assert that an action a outranks b (that is, a is at least as good as b).
The ranking relationship between the two alternatives Ak and A1 are denoted as Ak Al if alternative-k no-one
dominates the alternative to the quantitative, thus better decision makers to take risks Ak than Al.
Pairwise comparison of each alternative in each criteria is expressed by values (Xij). This value must be normalized to a
scale comparable to (rij) (Ermatita et. al, 2011). This value is calculated with the formula as below (Asgharpour, 2011;
Ermatita et. al, 2011):
rij

X ij
m

i 1,2, , m, j 1, 2, , n

(1)

X ij2

i 1

V matrix is normalized weighting decision matrix that calculated based on the equation:
Vij w j X ij

(2)

Concordance index (Ckl) that shows the sum of weights of criteria, according to the formula;

C k l j v lj v lj

j 1,2, , n

(3)

Calculating the value set for the matrix discordance is the following:

D k l j v lj v lj

j 1,2, , n

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(4)

Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

Concordance index is relative importance of the different criteria. C k l Concordance matrix elements calculated using the
formula:
Ck l

(5)

jC kl

d kl Discordance matrix elements calculated using the formula:


dkl

max v kj v ij

jD

max v kj v ij

kl

(6)

jJ

The discordance indices of different criteria are not aggregated using the weights, since one discordant criterion is
sufficient to discard outranking.
The dominance concordance matrix is calculated by threshold for concordance indices. The threshold is shown by c , k is
dominant to l when C kl c . The threshold value can be average of concordance indices. Dominance concordance
matrix calculated by the following formula:
m

c
c

k,l

k 1 l1

mm 1

(7)

We use c 0.5 in this study.


The dominance discordance matrix is calculated by threshold for discordance indices. The threshold is shown by d
calculated using the formula:
m

d
d

k,l

k 1 l 1

mm 1

(8)

We use it as d 1 in this study.


Concordance matrix elements calculated based on the dominant:
1,
fkl
0,

c kl c
c kl c

(9)

Discordance matrix elements calculated based on the dominant:


1,
gkl
0,

d kl d
d kl d

(10)

Dominant aggregate matrix is calculated by intersection of F and G:


h k l f kl .g kl

(11)

Finally it should be eliminated the low utility alternatives. Matrix H is general matrix of the preference in this study.
From the results of calculations the above formula are programmed in math lab.

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Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

III.

RESULT

The multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) results were calculated with the outranking method ELECTRE. By using
the weights of criteria that calculated as V matrix (formula 2), the global weights (priorities) were calculated for the other
decision elements in respect to the upper level elements related to them (table 2). The best alternative in the analysis
proved to be the conservation strategy.
TABLE II. The criterion variables and their priorities
Criterion variable
Area of commercial forests
Revenues of products
Volume of cutting from commercial forests
Stand stock
Area of productiveilized forests
Costs of cutting
Area of recreational forests
Area of commercial forests with recreational values
Area of closed forest
Area of conservation forest
Area of commercial forests with conservation values
Dead wood volume
Area of old forests
Natural reserves

Priority
0.0797
0.0806
0.0806
0.0806
0.0774
0.0806
0.0790
0.0790
0.0780
0.0760
0.0768
0.0170
0.0750
0.0399

The global weights of the criteria were: business (0.4795), forest recreation values (0. 236) and conservation values
(0.2847). The best alternative in the analysis proved to be the conservation strategy.
TABLE III. Concordance and discordance sets obtained by formula (3) and (4)
Concordance set ( C kl )

C12

11

C13

C21

10

11

C23

C31

10

11

C32

Discordance set ( D kl )

13

12

14

12

13

14

10

11

12

13

14

D12

10

12

14

D13

10

11

D 21

13

D 23

10

11

12

D 31

D32

Concordance matrix is calculated using formula (7):


0.5507 0.4068

C 0.4552

0.4085
0.5223 0.6836

Discordance matrix is calculated using formula (8):


1.0 1.0

D 1.0 0.97
1.0 1.1

F matrix is calculated using formula (9):

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12

13

13

14

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Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

0 1 0

F 0 0 0
1 1 0

Elements of the matrix F is determined as the dominant discordance.


G matrix is calculated using formula (10):
0 1 1

G 1 0 1
1 1 0

Elements with value 1 in matrix of G are show dominance relationship between alternatives.
H matrix is calculated using formula (11):
0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0
H F G 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0

With regard to matrix H in first and second column there is a minimum 1 element then it can be eliminate them, thus
alternative A3 is effective to select.
It can be show the relationship between alternatives based on matrix H as following:
A3

A1

A2
This means that ranking the strategies based on ELECTRE method is A3 dominated A1 and A2 , A1 also dominate A2.
IV.

CONCLUSION

The outranking methods are at their best in strategic level decision support. A further advantage is that preference
estimation procedures of outranking methods are versatile and diverse. Generally taken, outranking methods do not
require as much preference information as other MCDM methods. Easiness to use and understand the method, and
interpretability of the results, are important qualities of the methods applied. In this study the results show Conservation
strategy is prefer as the best management strategy for the study area. Commercial strategy is in second rank and the last
one is Recreational strategy. The ranking is based on the number of alternatives outranked by each alternative minus the
number of alternatives which outrank it.
Fagetum communities of Hyrcanian forest are over exploited for decades and their productive potential decreases in
lowland areas. In the past the forest was cutting traditionally by cut the best trees, scientific cutting from the northern
forest of Iran was started by using forest plan as shelter wood system at 1961 (Poorbabaei & Ranjavar, 2008). There are
socioeconomic problems as forest settlers and grazing in these forests that make damage the natural forests and over
exploited there, but the fagetum community is still as commercial forests. It is essential to conserve the forest to improve
the condition of them. The area is located in wide range of altitude and it is an important profit to recreation for it and the
aesthetic value of the area can make it as a recreational region. The recreation strategy is as third prefer for the area.

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Tooba Abedi and Mohammad Ghamgosar. World Applied Programming, Vol (3), No (10), October 2013.

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