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Invasive Plants Case Study

A small team of interested stakeholders, local US Forest Service staff and a forest manager have assembled to address this problem. They are concerned that certain options for dealing with Japanese Stilt grass can be costly, labor intensive, and perhaps ineffective. Plus, they know that they need to effectively communicate the rationale for their decision to key stakeholders, which can be a difficult task.

The team starts by identifying and discussing objectives, from larger legally mandated objectives to the objectives of team members. It is clear that the group has identified a wide range of objectives, including managing the watershed for invasive plants, maintaining recreational opportunities, preserving scenic integrity, and keeping costs low.

But how do they address each of these at the same time? In order to deal with this issue, they build an “objectives hierarchy”, or a structured list of objectives that starts with broad-level objectives (the “why”), and tiers to more specific-level objectives (the “how”).This allows the team to understand how objectives relate to each other and how certain objectives may be in conflict.

For example, an objectives hierarchy for this simple example could look like this:

    Protect native plants and trees by controlling invasive plants
    • Reduce area occupied by Japanese stilt grass
    • Prevent spread of Japanese stilt grass into forest interior
    Promote recreational use of watershed
    • Provide access to recreational trails in watershed
    • Preserve scenic integrity of watershed
    • Create openings to attract wildlife and enhance viewing
    Keep costs low
    • Minimize short-term treatment costs
    • Minimize long-term treatment costs


Determine team members, stakeholders




Discuss objectives


Build objectives hierarchy