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Multi-criteria decision support (MCDS) tools assist the decision-maker (DM) in selecting an appropriate forest plan among specified alternatives. The selection of appropriate criteria to compare the alternatives is related to the scales of planning and the availability of appropriate inventory data. Anyhow, the criteria should reflect the DM’s objectives and address the production possibilities of the forestry unit at hand. The objectives of this study is to determine if DMs are able to identify/construct similar preferences for the forest with varying levels of information regarding the plans, and to determine if the identified preferences result in the selection of the same forest plan. A group of forest sciences students were chosen as testees. A representative sized forest tract from a forest managed by Metsähallitus was used as a case “holding” providing semi-authentic data. The MESTA internet application was used to guide participants into selecting a single forest plan, depending on the criteria presented to the participant. Results of a systematic experiment showed that approximately half of the participants selected the same forest plan in two out of three different decision scenarios. This result suggests one carefully pre-defined default set of criteria, but it also calls for further study.


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