Table 1. Evaluation criteria applied to each of the tools reviewed: capabilities.

Tool What does it do? What does it not do? Methods
Bayesian belief network (BBN), system dynamic model (Cain 2001, Lynam et al. 2002, Lynam 2003) Simplifies complex systems through key variables and their relationships Capture all details and nuances Individual or group setting; usually (but not with BBNs) requires quantitative estimation of relationships
Discourse-based valuation (Wilson and Howarth 2002) Develops a common (group) representation of importance Develop causal relationships among variables or entities Facilitated group interactions
4Rs framework (Dubois 1998) Assesses stakeholder roles and resilience in forest management Reveal causal relationships Carefully facilitated individual or group setting
Participatory mapping (Lynam 1999, 2001, Sheil et al. 2002) Represents spatial relationships Represent spatial interactions Individual or group setting
Pebble Distribution Method (e.g., Colfer et al. 1999a, Sheil et al. 2002, 2003) Rates alternatives (items) and encourages examination of the underlying reasons for these ratings Represent, clarify, or reveal relationships or processes Individual or group setting supervised by a facilitator who must carefully introduce and guide the process
Vision/pathway scenario (Wollenberg et al. 2000) Envisions and articulates an ideal future as a basis for planning and decision making or developing a shared vision Quantify relationships or identify the causal relationships among process or variables Entire community
Alternative scenario (Wollenberg et al 2000, Nemarundwe et al. 2003) Imagines and describes several possible future outcomes (negative or positive) based on current trends and uncertainties Quantify relationships Entire community
Spidergram (Lynam 1999, 2001) Represents causal or categorical relationships among variables related to a central question Represent feedback or dynamic relationships Individual or group setting; useful in discourse-based valuation to develop consensus
Venn diagram (Pretty et al. 1995) Represents social relationships and power differences between stakeholders Represent causal relationships Individual or group setting
Who Counts Matrix (Colfer et al. 1999b) Gives priority to stakeholders whose well-being is closely linked to forest management, using seven dimensions to assess these links Provide specific definitions of terms and indicators to assess dimensions Individual or group setting