Transboundary management options and external factors
Working with the coaches, the park authorities identify a list of factors that have strong potential influence on the ultimate objectives and that are at least partly beyond the control of park staff. They then narrow down the external factors to a focal set that has a high degree uncertainty about their magnitude and effects on the ultimate objectives. Next, park authorities develop two alternative scenarios representing possible future trajectories for the external factors. A status quo scenario assumes that system dynamics (i.e., external factors along with their impacts and effectiveness of management activities for achieving objectives) will follow the most likely future trajectory. An optimistic scenario assumes that system dynamics are more favorable than expected for achieving the objectives. To keep the participatory decision analysis feasible, additional scenarios (e.g., pessimistic) may be documented for future analyses. After listing possible management activities, park authorities independently assign a percent allocation toward each activity in a way they believe will most likely achieve the objectives under each scenario for external factors.
Initial lists of external factors and management activities were provided independently to ensure that no one park authority drives the final selection. During a workshop the core team developed a comprehensive influence diagram representing hypotheses about how ultimate objectives are influenced by management activities, resulting in a list of 9 possible activities. Joint discussions about percent allocations among activities led to adjustments to better reflect management realities.
The core team identified two external factors for inclusion in the decision analysis: 1) Agreement by Alpine countries in common politics concerning large carnivores. 2) Perceived level of competence of protected areas from perspective of stakeholders, allowing for their acceptance of carrying out park management activities and associated outcomes related to bear management. Eight of 10 respondents to the stakeholder-workshop questionnaire indicated that the external factors and possible management activities were clearly understood, although some suggestions were given to consider: 1) changes in stakeholder perceptions of large carnivores; 2) bear management in other parts of the population; 3) economic conditions for sheep breeding; 4) hunters lobbying for an open bear season; 5) adequate prevention tools for mountain pastures; 6) bear-related ecotourism should account for differences between parks in accessibility for tourists.