Assessment for National Park Candidate Area Using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: A case study from the Argyll Islands and Coast
This thesis outlines an assessment approach for national park designation purpose using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. The case study area is ‘Argyll Islands and Coast’ situated in west Scotland. Four different management options are explored and six criteria are identified. The objectives of the analysis are ‘Ecosystem services’ and ‘Viable local communities’. The approach is an illustrative example of how these options can be compared and focuses on the viability of local communities. Scoring of the criteria is realised with the ‘relative preference scales’ method while weighting of the criteria is realised with the ‘swing’ method. The lack of quantitative data results in uncertainties related to scores and weights’ assignment. Moreover, due to time constraint stakeholder participation is not included in the MCDA process. To offset the two latter issues and increase the knowledge on the characteristics and activities taking place in the area, five interviews are carried out. The interviewees are chosen according to their background so that some of the major stakeholder groups are represented in the MCDA. The triangulation method is used to integrate the qualitative data derived from the interviews in the sensitivity analysis. The results indicate the need for more quantitative data to reduce uncertainties and for options which improve the performance on the major criteria.