Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a general term for methods developed to support complex decision-making situations with multiple and often conflicting objectives that stakeholders groups and decision-makers value differently. In environmental management, MCDA methods are increasingly used to structure participatory integrated assessment and valuation processes which combine information about decision alternatives and their consequences with information about stakeholder and/or decision-maker values and preferences.
A large number of MCDA methods have been developed to sort, rank or evaluate decision alternatives. In multi-attribute value tree analysis (MAVT), a problem is structured in a form of a value tree that presents a hierarchical structure of the criteria and alternatives. In the preference elicitation stage of MAVT, participants are asked to assign numerical weightings to reflect the relative importance of each appraisal criterion for them. It is important to note that the weights need to be elicited with reference to the range of variations of the criteria that occur in the specific decision problem. Several software packages are developed to support MAVT, including Web-HIPRE.