Post by Romina Martin from the Stockholm Resilience Centre

The SPACES team working on system dynamic models in small groups

The SPACES team working on system dynamic models in small groups

For 6 days, an amazing group of people (SPACES project members and friends) met in Diani Beach to learn some modelling techniques and to develop models together that represent the main aspects from coastal ecosystems and their use. One particular challenge was to discuss not just one modelling paradigm but two. We started with a system dynamics view, identifying relevant dampening and reinforcing feedbacks that might drive the dynamic development of the systems under study. The alternative approach we discussed was the agent-based view describing more explicit human decisions and particular sequences of events happening. Another challenge was to introduce participants to little pieces of coding for model implementation. We worked with NetLogo to use an interface that offers a lot of interaction with graphical tools and a very intuitive, high-level programming language. The collaboration within the mixed Mozambique and Kenian group was very strong and the participants were so ambitious that even some coffee breaks were shortened to find nasty errors.

Romina recapping model development and design fundamentals learned the previous day

Romina recapping model development and design fundamentals learned the previous day

So how can modelling help research and knowledge dissemination to stakeholders in the SPACES project? The vision is that models can be developed for different parts of the coastal system, such as the reef fisheries and the mangroves, to support understanding of the main interactions within this systems that determine ecosystem service provision and well-being. On top of these, a toy model is envisioned that provides an overview for the main dependencies and influences between the subsystems.

Photos by F Januchowski-Hartley & B Schulte-Herbrüggen