Eliciting Inter-Temporal Value Trade-Offs: A Deliberative Multi-Criteria Analysis of Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long National Park Management Scenarios

Asim Zia, University of Vermont, United States of America
Paul Hirsch, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, United States of America
Hoang Van Thang, Vietnam National University, Vietnam
Tran Chi Trung, Vietnam National University, Vietnam
Sheila O’Connor, Arizona State University, United States of America
Thomas McShane, Arizona State University, United States of America
Peter Brosius, University of Georgia, United States of America
Bryan Norton, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States of America
Email: asim.zia@uvm.edu
Published: February 2015

Citation: Zia, A., Hirsch, P., Thang, H. V., Trung, T. C., O'Connor, S., et al. (2015). Eliciting Inter-Temporal Value Trade-Offs: A Deliberative Multi-Criteria Analysis of Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long National Park Management Scenarios. IAFOR Journal of Sustainability, Energy & the Environment, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijsee.2.1.03


Background: While different notions of sustainability and sustainable development have been adopted in the key policy goals of agencies at multiple governance levels, initial enchantment with sustainable development as a "win-win" panacea has given way to the emerging notion of "hard choices" and "difficult trade-offs" that entail inter-generational allocation of environmental resources. Two hypotheses are explored: (i) Negative Discounting Hypothesis: Hyperbolic discounting and positive discount rates do not accurately describe the decision behavior of policy actors in all natural resource management contexts; rather, negative discount rates for ecological and natural resource conservation values could also be observed in some management contexts. (ii) Value Pluralism Hypothesis: Ecological, social, political and other values could be accorded higher weights than economic values in some natural resource management contexts. Materials and Methods: A deliberative multi-criteria analysis (DMCA) model for eliciting trade-offs among values across multiple space-time scales is presented in the management context of Vietnam's Bai Tu Long National Park (BTLNP). Five management scenarios for BTLNP – business-as-usual, total conservation, total development, multi-use, and community-owned - are evaluated on six criteria: economic welfare, social welfare, good governance, ecosystem services and biodiversity protection, price of land and accessibility. Results: After group discussions, Vietnamese participants revealed negative discounting for economic welfare, social welfare, and ecosystem services, while positive discounting for the other three criteria. Economic welfare is accorded relatively lesser weight than ecosystem services and good governance. Conclusions: Deliberative process reveals that multiple use area and community ownership management scenarios could better serve pluralistic stakeholder values.


economic development, sustainable development, participatory decision-making, multi-criteria decision analysis, environmental planning, inter-temporal trade-offs