Linking Earth system and socio-economic models to predict and manage changes in land use and biodiversity

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

Modelling and scenario development are principal tools to learn from the past, about the present and for the future, to examine policy options and the impacts of socio-economic developments for the environment and for human well-being. However, modelling communities in the Earth system-, biodiversity- and socio-economic sciences are today relatively separate. This initiative will bring together these communities in order to advance cutting-edge interdisciplinary science of human-environmental model and scenario development.Using three regional case studies dealing with the challenges of land use and biodiversity, and with full stakeholder involvement in the design phase, this initiative will develop detailed, integrated models that capture the dynamics in smaller spatial regions. Model Building will act as a platform for integration, forcing the participants to formalize and integrate different discourses.

This clustering initiative will result in journal publications, and a roadmap for further development of human-environment models within Future Earth.

Activities will be as follows:
Year 1: (7/2014 – 7/2015)

An initial workshop involving researchers and stakeholders from key sectors will (1) identify key global land-use and biodiversity questions to which we can develop robust answers. This will provide the basis for the following steps during Year 1: (2) overcoming disciplinary barriers in data collection, selection and management, (3) identifying co-design and co-construction best practices, (4) elaborating an operational socio-environmental complex systems framework, (5) defining modelling methodologies, appropriate for the different system components, (6) identifying robust model integration techniques.

Year 2: (7/2015 – 7/2016)

A second workshop (09/2015) will identify cross-scalar coupling strategies for the existing models, while a third (03/2016) will explore emergent spatio-temporal patterns of change in land-use and biodiversity arising from the coupling of socioeconomics, climate and environment, and examine the impacts of various socio-economic pathways and policy options.

Professor Sander van der Leeuw

Co-Chair, Scientific Steering CommitteeAIMES - Analysis, Integration and Modelling of the Earth SystemPersonal website