A powerful new addition to the decision-making toolbox


The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN General assembly in September 2015. With 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets, the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” aims at accounting for the complexities of today’s world and explicitly acknowledges and addresses the adverse effects that development decisions can have on different sectors and parts of society and the environment.

Rapidly increasing computational capacity and growing scientific understanding of the complex inter-dependencies within and between the natural and social world have opened the door for well informed decision making. However, with more information available, the decision-making process can become more lengthy and overwhelming for individuals.


Alongside a variety of endeavors in various fields, the Forest & Ecosystem Management System aims to address this challenge for the forestry sector. In a collaboration between UNDP Turkey, University of Washington, the General Directorate of Forestry of Turkey (GDF/OGM) and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, a team of experts and practitioners is developing a decision support system for sustainable forest management — first for application in Turkey and later on, as an open source project, to be adapted to other parts of the world.

The system is based on a the Landscape Management System (LMS) and takes a landscape approach to forest management. In the original version of the Landscape Management System, an Excel application can be used to calculate and visualize trade offs among different management goals, such as timber production, carbon storage, and stand structures.

The Forest & Ecosystem Management System uses the same approach to derive and display tradeoffs between a selection of four Sustainable Development Goals:

  • #1 – No Poverty

  • #6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

  • #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • #15 – Life on Land.

The new tool will be open source, with a user-friendly design to encourage widespread use and continuous improvement and adaptation.

With this, the project is at the center of the scientific and political discussions and aspirations, aiming at providing solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our times and attempting to mediate across sectors, interests, and scientific disciplines.


Anna Schuerkmann | Program Director
Sage Hall 8A