PhD defence: Participatory decision-support tools to improve environmental management - Experiences from the Baltic Sea Region

PhD defence

Johannes Friedrich Carolus


Managing the environment implies to allocate limited resources in light of unlimited, contrary and unknown demands. The complexity of this undertaking is evidenced by anthropogenic activities leading to ecosystem degradations and collapses worldwide. One of many examples are the water bodies in the Baltic Sea Region, which provide livelihoods and recreational values for millions of people yet must deal with severe anthropogenic pressures. For instance, nutrient inputs through agriculture and wastewater causes eutrophication, which adversely affects a range of ecosystem services that generate societal welfare. In the face of climate change, population growth and intensive agricultural production, more efforts are required to harness the services provided by nature in a way that benefits current and future generations in a sustainable manner. Yet, any intervention is shaped by complex social and ecological interactions, trade-offs, and often conflicting interests across local actors and society as a whole. Those that benefit from improvements frequently do not bear the costs. To implement solutions which are in line with the preferences of both local stakeholders and the wider public, decisions must be made on a sound and holistic informational basis. Overall, the thesis explored the application and foundation of socio-economic approaches, namely Cost-Benefit Analysis and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, to enhance environmental decision-making, and thereby emphasises the advantages and limitations of involving stakeholders into their development. The thesis therefore contributes to bridging the gap between political and public demands, the sentiments of stakeholders, and local situations and environmental conditions.


Søren Marcus Pedersen, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen
Co-supervisor: Søren Bøye Olsen, Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen

Assesment Committee

Chair: Brian H. Jacobsen, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen

Berit Hasler, Senior Researcher, Aarhus University

Katarina Elofsson, Associate Professor (Docent) , Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

If you are interested in a full copy of the thesis, please contact the PhD student or the supervisors.