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I. Specifying Objectives

Specifying Objectives Designing Alternatives Modeling Effects Synthesis Clear objectives are critical to both planning and evaluating management actions. Objectives often are best portrayed as a nested hierarchy, where more general objective statements such as "prevent losses of old-growth forests" are upper-level objectives that are comprised of lower-level, more specific objectives such as "increase resistance to wildfire or disease." Your main goal in this stage of CRAFT is to specify a set of management objectives relevant to an identified problem. You are asked not only to elicit and clarify your objectives, but to place them into a hierarchical classification scheme - an objectives hierarchy - that portrays their inter-relationships.



This stage in CRAFT assumes that you have previously defined a planning problem and have a conceptual model of the system in question. This model should be sufficiently developed to allow you to identify the major causal pathways between management actions and important ecological or social consequences. If you are unsure of your readiness for this step, consider reviewing the discussion on Specifying Objectives in the Wizard.



You will want to record and display your objectives hierarchy. The simplest way to do this is by creating a list in outline format (see example 1). Alternatively, software applications that allow you to create organization charts work well in creating visually appealing objectives hierarchies (example 2; example 3; example 4).

Details and additional examples concerning building an objectives hierarchy can be found in the tutorial, Building an Objectives Hierarchy. If you find that further work is required developing a working conceptual model, see the section, Conceptual Modeling.

The main points to remember in an Objectives Hierarchy (OH) are:

  • An objectives hierarchy should flow from "Why?" at higher levels, to "How?" at lower levels.
  • Higher-level objectives can be broad, inclusive, and even ambiguous.
  • Lower-level objectives should be specific and map to real-world attributes.
  • The objectives hierarchy should be inclusive and represent a mix of stakeholder views.
  • The objectives hierarchy makes no value judgments vis-a-vis one objective versus another.


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