Choosing between alternative placement strategies for conservation buffers using Borda count

Zeyuan Qiu, Michael G. Dosskey, Yang Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


There is inherent ambiguity when comparing decision criteria in multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM). A fuzzy Borda count was developed to take into account some of the ambiguity and derive criteria weights by linguistically comparing decision criteria. This study extends the fuzzy Borda count to take into account agents' confidence in their preferences for criteria weights. The procedure is applied to prioritize agricultural lands for conservation buffer placement using multiple criteria in the Raritan River Basin in New Jersey. These criteria, which include soil erodibility, hydrological sensitivity, wildlife habitat, and impervious surface, capture the conservation buffers' ecosystem services in terms of reducing soil erosion, controlling runoff generation, enhancing wildlife habitat, and mitigating stormwater impacts, respectively. A survey was conducted of conservation professionals including federal employees at NRCS, state and local agencies and nongovernmental environmental organizations to elicit agents' preferences for multiple benefits of conservation buffers using a fuzzy pairwise comparison method. The study compares the fuzzy MCDM procedure to a class-based MCDM procedure for prioritizing agricultural lands for conservation buffer placement. The comparative results show that both procedures have their advantages and disadvantages, but generate comparable prioritization results. Further research is needed to improve the proposed fuzzy MCDM procedure to handle missing values in eliciting agents' preferences for comparing multiple criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Analytic hierarchy process
  • Borda count
  • Conservation buffer placement
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Multi-criteria decision-making


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