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Using a problem tree to map barriers


counterpoint frequently conducts problem analysis by using an approach adapted from the Logical Framework (logframe) approach. This approach involves identification of key problems, constraints and opportunities to determine cause and effect relationships between key issues. These relationships are then visualized hierarchically in the form of a Problem Tree. The purpose is to better understand the cause and effect relationships that are critical to identification of effective interventions.

Simple problem trees may be developed by following seven simple steps:

  1. Identify major issues
  2. Select an individual starter problem
  3. Look for related issues
  4. Establish a hierarchy of cause and effects
    • Direct causes are put below
    • Direct effects are put above
  5. Complete with all other problems
  6. Connect the problems with cause-effect arrows
  7. Review the diagram and verify its validity and completeness

Here’s a simplified example of a problem tree for deteriorating forest conditions:

problem tree