Decisions, metrics and ‘bang for buck’

The latest edition of Decision Point, the monthly magazine of the Environmental Decisions Group (EDG), has a series of articles on environmental decision making. Two of these focus on matters associated with decision metrics and investment evaluation.

The first, by Fiona Gibson and David Pannell, focuses on the importance of using robust decision metrics to underpin sound environmental decision making. The authors note that … “Environmental managers should be more concerned in the first instance about how they calculate a decision metric rather than funding the acquisition of higher quality information to feed into that metric.” In our experience the search for ‘perfect and complete’ information is rarely useful, and dealing with information gaps in a sensible and transparent manner through the application of a strong metric is far better than chasing more data.

The second article, by David Pannell, examines the challenging topic of how best to evaluate the return on investment in environmental projects. Decisions on how to achieve this are very challenging, requiring integration of ecological, physical, social and economic information. How do you assess value for money?

In 2013, David outlined the key principles though a series of blog articles on his popular Pannell Discussions website. The insights and principles are embedded in tools that are currently being used to assist two regional NRM bodies from the Great Barrier Reef catchment to develop their new Water Quality Improvement Plans, as well as a number of other projects that Natural Decisions is currently involved with. To download the compendium of these blog posts click here.


Allocating resources to the ‘best’ projects is a challenging business, especially in landscapes that are biophysically, socially and institutionally complex.



Posted 15 September 2014 in News