Experiential knowledge complements an LCA-based decision support framework

Heng Yi Teah*, Yasuhiro Fukushima, Motoharu Onuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A shrimp farmer in Taiwan practices innovation through trial-and-error for better income and a better environment, but such farmer-based innovation sometimes fails because the biological mechanism is unclear. Systematic field experimentation and laboratory research are often too costly, and simulating ground conditions is often too challenging. To solve this dilemma, we propose a decision support framework that explicitly utilizes farmer experiential knowledge through a participatory approach to alternatively estimate prospective change in shrimp farming productivity, and to co-design options for improvement. Data obtained from the farmer enable us to quantitatively analyze the production cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission with a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. We used semi-quantitative graphical representations of indifference curves and mixing triangles to compare and show better options for the farmer. Our results empower the farmer to make decisions more systematically and reliably based on the frequency of heterotrophic bacteria application and the revision of feed input. We argue that experiential knowledge may be less accurate due to its dependence on varying levels of farmer experience, but this knowledge is a reasonable alternative for immediate decision-making. More importantly, our developed framework advances the scope of LCA application to support practically important yet scientifically uncertain cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12386-12401
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision support framework
  • Experiential knowledge
  • Farmer-based innovation
  • Indifference curves
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Mixing triangle
  • Shrimp farming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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