Friday, June 5, 2015 Presentation Information

TRACK ONE: Experienced Modelers

9:30-10:50 AM

Session 11: Systems Approaches to Conservation and Land Use Planning

Room TBA

A Comparative Study of Hazara Forest Communities in Pakistan: A System Dynamics Approach

Naila Nazir
Michigan State University

Pakistan, having low forest area and a high deforestation rate, is facing many socioeconomic factors that are putting pressure on its forest resources. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province has the country’s highest share of the national forest area and is vulnerable to community exploitation. Two forest communities in KP province are considered for the present study. Questionnaire data are being used to develop a system dynamics model to identify the major drivers of deforestation and will include the perception of forest communities through some socio-economic variables. The result of the study could be a breakthrough for policy makers to prioritize forest management strategies.

Liking and Power in Communication Networks: What Influences Who Talks to Whom for Conservation Practices?

Manoj Shrestha and Karen Trebitz
University of Idaho

Jennifer Boie
Palouse Conservation District

This paper uses social network analysis to test the homophily and structural position theories in explaining the communication network that farmers develop with extension agents for adopting conservation practices.

Modeling System Dynamics in Rangelands of the Mongolian Plateau

Ginger Allington and Daniel G. Brown
University of Michigan

Wei Li
Perking University, University of Michigan

We developed a system dynamics model to understand how the human, natural, and land-use systems in the Mongolian rangeland ecosystem interact to produce dynamic outcomes in both grassland productivity and economic well-being of residents. This integrative model explores future conditions by incorporating information from stakeholders about key uncertainties. We predict how ecosystem function and socioeconomic outcomes might change under alternative plausible climate, socioeconomic, and land use futures. We demonstrate how feedbacks within and between the human and natural systems can lead to divergent outcomes, depending on the policy and adaptation measures that are adopted at local and regional levels.

Session 12: Participatory Modeling Approaches to Improving Nutrition and Health

Room TBA

Using Collaborative Systems Modeling to Inform State Policymaking on Childhood Obesity in Georgia

Rachel Ferencik
Georgia State University

Chris Soderquist
Pontifex Consulting

Childhood obesity in has tripled in recent decades, and Georgia is no exception. Reversing this epidemic requires a diverse set of policies and interventions, making it an ideal candidate for a system dynamics modeling project. As part of a comprehensive continuing education program for state policymakers, a group of legislators and their staff, along with subject matter experts, came together to develop a computer simulation on childhood obesity. The simulation was embedded in a real-time, hands-on learning lab environment with legislators and enabled them to engage in a more rigorous discussion about effective policy options for reducing childhood obesity.

Using System Dynamics Modeling to Foster Effective School-Based Wellness Program Planning and Implementation

David Lounsbury, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Mindy Ginsberg, Arthur E. Blank, Moonseong Heo, Natania W. Ostrovsky, and Carmen R. Isasi
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Ralph Levine
Michigan State University

Lynn Fredericks
FamilyCook Productions

Emily Zagnit, Erica Irvin, and Shawn G. Hayes

In an ongoing study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, we use system dynamics (SD) modeling to foster wellness program planning and implementation within diverse, urban high schools. In our study, we work collaboratively with school wellness councils (SWCs) to apply systems thinking and SD modeling to foster behavioral change consistent with the 2010 US dietary guidelines for adolescents. Specifically, we are using tailored reports on self-reported student health behaviors, causal loop diagramming exercises, and simple demonstration simulation models to help the SWCs develop and execute action plans.

Session 13: Participatory Approaches to Modeling and Managing Water Resources and Aquatic Systems

Room TBA

A Stakeholder-Centered Approach to Fisheries Management in the Great Lakes

Renee Reilly, Mike Jones, and Lisa K. Peterson
Michigan State University

We describe a process of directly engaging fishery stakeholders in the development of fisheries harvest policies using a management strategy evaluation approach for Lake Erie percids (walleye and yellow perch). The process explicitly involves stakeholders along with fishery managers, agency fishery biologists, stock assessment specialists, and modelers to create a more transparent decision-making process. Through this process, not only has the breadth of knowledge about the system increased, but trust has been engendered between stakeholders and managers. We will endeavor to impart lessons learned during this process to inform future collaborative work with stakeholders.

Quantitative Systems Modeling for Participatory Watershed Management and Decision Making in the Coeur d’Alene Basin

Jan Boll, Jason Walters, and Jae Ryu
University of Idaho

Lake Coeur d’Alene, situated upstream of the urbanizing corridor from the City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, through Spokane, Washington, is a coupled natural and managed ecosystem at the rural-urban interface. Population and climate change pressures on the lake and surrounding areas are growing, affecting water resources, water quality, and ecological health. An integrative modeling project in collaboration with stakeholder groups includes biophysical modeling of basin-scale hydrology, stream/lake water quality dynamics, and risks to ecosystem services. We use quantitative systems modeling to integrate results of the in-depth modeling processes to achieve participatory management and decision-making.

Socially Downscaling the Hydrological Impacts of Climate Change

Alexander Metzger, Steven Gray, Ellen Douglas, and Matthew Barlow
University of Massachusetts

Paul Kirshe
University of New Hampshire

Our research bridges a gap between locally-scaled hydrologic models incorporating climate change and social and economic impacts relevant to stakeholders. Our “social downscaling” approach integrates these models with priorities and understandings of local communities to make impacts more relevant and tractable. Interviews with local water resource managers helped integrate locally important factors into hydrological models, and workshops using fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) software allowed us to translate model outputs into social and economic impacts. Our presentation discusses how our social downscaling approach can be used in a variety of contexts to make predictive models more useful in management and climate change adaptation.

11:00 AM-12:10 PM

Session 14: Qualitative Systems Mapping Techniques

Room TBA

Pedagogy for a Wicked World: The Value and Hazards of a Transdisciplinary, Dialogue-Driven, Community-Engaged Classroom Model

Danielle Lake
Grand Valley State University

This presentation provides a number of strategies for instructors interested in a more participatory, transdisciplinary, and experiential educational model in order to foster real-world change around our high-stakes, complex public problems. By utilizing soft systems thinking in addition to a feminist pragmatist methodology, students can successfully collaborate with community partners and integrate across their disciplinary expertise in order to co-develop and implement action plans with community stakeholders. Given the value of this work, and also the challenges, this session highlights the potential pitfalls of working to prepare students for a messy, iterative process of collaboratively learning-by-doing in a “wicked” world.

Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping as a Participatory Approach to Measure Resilience, Change, and Preferred States of Social-Ecological Systems

Steven Gray
University of Massachusetts

Steven Schyphers
Northeastern University

Fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) has been employed in a diverse set of environmental contexts to generate participatory models of complex systems and for scenario development. Although there has been an increase in the use of FCM, limited progress has been made with regard to the method’s relationship to resilience frameworks and how FCM compares with other participatory modeling approaches. We examine how FCM can be used for promoting resilience analysis among stakeholders in terms of identifying key state variables that comprise social-ecological systems, evaluating alternative equilibrium states, and defining desirable or undesirable state outcomes through scenario analysis.

Session 15: Quantitative Systems Modeling Approaches

Room TBA

Combining System Dynamics Modeling with Other Methods: A Systematic Review

Mohammadreza Zolfagharian and Georges Romme
Eindhoven University of Technology

Many SD studies draw on multi-method approaches in order to demonstrate more profound articulation of complex problems and more robust policy analysis. However, there is not much knowledge on when and how to combine SD with other methods. Adopting an evidence-based systematic approach, we assess 37 studies that use SD modeling along with at least one other method. This review produces several insights and learnings. We conclude with suggestions for future research in this area.

Models, Hypotheses, and Ecological Theory: Can an Iterative Institutionalized Model-Making Research Program Help Bridge the Gap Between Empirical and Theoretical Ecology?

Stuart J. Whipple and Bernard C. Patten
University of Georgia

We propose that institutionalized model-making (IMM) can generate productive linkages between empirical studies and theory-based ecological modeling approaches, and provide for the construction and testing of model-based hypotheses about ecosystems. IMM prescribes the model as a multi-generational, iteratively developed asset of a research site. Models are made by collaborative teams of site scientists and stakeholders. Through building, using, evaluating, and modifying the same set of models, theorists and empiricists are provided with a powerful platform to build constructive interactions of theory building and empirical testing. IMM provides a large set of benefits to the research site and its scientists. Among these are social benefits of enhancing communication and collaboration, synthesizing coherent empirical and theoretical constructs through model construction, and future research benefits with models providing a tangible construct from which to create research proposals and direct future empirical and theoretical projects.

Principles of Participatory Ensemble Modeling to Study Complex Socioecological Systems

Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Sandy Marquart-Pyatt, and Saweda Liverpool-Tasie
Michigan State University

Louie Rivers III and Jing Du
North Carolina State University

We propose three intertwined design principles to guide the development of policy-relevant models: legitimacy, parsimony, and practicality. Model legitimacy means that models incorporate the perspectives of all involved stakeholders. Model parsimony is necessary because legitimate models often result in a large number of overlapping system representations, which can be further simplified and grouped to minimize model complexity. To satisfy practicality, we need to maintain a certain level of uncertainty in models to provide means of comprehensive experimentation. Taken together, these principles form a framework that allows for synthesizing qualitative and quantitative information, enhancing both communication of critical societal problems and their potential solutions.

Session 16: The ABLe Change Process (Demonstration)

Room TBA

The ABLe Change Process: A Participatory Systemic Action Learning Process

Pennie Foster-Fishman and Erin Watson
Michigan State University

A growing body of evidence suggests many efforts aiming to address complex community problems like poverty and health inequities often fail to achieve what they promised. Change agents can play a key role in promoting community capacity to address this complexity by engaging diverse stakeholders in processes to identify, understand, and tackle the patterns and dynamics generating and sustaining these wicked problems. This session demonstrates the ABLe Change framework, a participatory systemic action learning process that bridges soft-system methodologies and system dynamics approaches to focus change efforts on the content and process of complex systems change.

1:40-3:00 PM

Session 17: Using the Community Capitals Framework to Model Community Change

Room TBA

Mowed Grass, Less Fear, More Trust: Community Capitals and the Neighborhood Effects of Urban Greening (the Case of Flint, Michigan)

Stephen Gasteyer and Rachel Johansen
Michigan State University

This presentation addresses the question: What are the impacts of urban greening initiatives at the neighborhood level, and how do we know? To do this, we employ the community capitals framework (CCF), an analysis framework that engages the community in modeling changes in community assets resulting from development initiatives. Our findings indicate that at the community level, urban greening has positive benefits in terms of increased neighborhood feelings of safety and trust, but that it has done little in terms of improving financial assets in the community.

The Issues of Drought in Public Health Efforts: What can be Done in the Future?

Nicole Wall
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

This paper demonstrates the use of the Community Capitals Framework (CCF) in addressing the impact of drought on community health and resilience. The paper builds on several previous or ongoing initiatives by the National Drought Mitigation Center and various partners and colleagues, with an emphasis on recent work in health preparedness before, during, and after a drought and what is needed to help strengthen these efforts in the face of climate change induced drought.

Using Ripple Effects Mapping to Determine Community Capitals Outcomes

Mary Emery
South Dakota State University

A critical challenge in modeling rural community development outcomes is accounting for the intended and unintended results of a program, intervention or collaborative for individuals, groups, sectors or communities. This presentation will discuss how this challenge has been overcome through the use of the ripple effect mapping (REM), a promising method for conducting impact evaluation that engages program and community stakeholders to retrospectively and visually map the “performance story” resulting from a program or complex collaboration. The presentation will discuss the basic tenets of REM and discuss examples of how it has been employed with the community capitals framework.

Session 18: Collaborative Geodesign in Practice (Demonstration)

Room TBA

Collaborative Geodesign in Practice

Len Kne, David Pitt, Bryan Runck, Carissa Schively Slotterback, Nicholas R. Jordan, and David Mulla
University of Minnesota

Our demonstration highlights the implementation of a collaborative geodesign system on a large touch-screen display, which allows a group of participants to quickly evaluate alternative designs created by sketching on a web map. We present a case study of the geodesign application showing the integration of underlying modeling related to soils, agricultural productivity, habitat, and water quality (e.g. SWAT, INVEST) into a stakeholder-friendly interface for landscape-scale planning and design. Participants in the demonstration will be able to experience the application hands-on as we describe the underlying modeling, capabilities, and functionality of the geodesign system.

Session 4: Modeling Techniques (Demonstration)
Interactive Agent-Based Simulations for Renewable Resource Management: The Companion Modeling Approach

Christophe Le Page and Arthur Perrotton

The companion modeling approach involves local stakeholders as well as scientific domain experts to draw new knowledge from agent based simulation models of renewable natural resource management systems by giving effect to long-term visions discussed and analyzed collectively. Allowing stakeholders collectively to see progressive changes in the system stimulates their joint ability to comprehend the mechanisms of decision-making processes (theirs and also those of other participants). In this demonstration of the companion modeling approach, we present some examples of context-specific participatory agent-based simulations.