Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Qualitative Modelling for Bridging Expert-Knowledge and the Social-Ecological Dynamics of an East African Savanna

Version 1 : Received: 28 November 2021 / Approved: 30 November 2021 / Online: 30 November 2021 (12:39:11 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Cosme, M.; Hély, C.; Pommereau, F.; Pasquariello, P.; Tiberi, C.; Treydte, A.; Gaucherel, C. Qualitative Modeling for Bridging Expert-Knowledge and Social-Ecological Dynamics of an East African Savanna. Land 2022, 11, 42. Cosme, M.; Hély, C.; Pommereau, F.; Pasquariello, P.; Tiberi, C.; Treydte, A.; Gaucherel, C. Qualitative Modeling for Bridging Expert-Knowledge and Social-Ecological Dynamics of an East African Savanna. Land 2022, 11, 42.

Journal reference: Land 2021, 11, 42
DOI: 10.3390/land11010042

Abstract

Sub-Saharan social-ecological systems are undergoing changes in environmental conditions, including modifications in rainfall pattern and biodiversity loss. Consequences of such changes depend on complex causal chains which call for integrated management strategies whose efficiency could benefit from ecosystem dynamic modelling. However, ecosystem models often require lots of quantitative information for estimating parameters, which is often unavailable. Alternatively, qualitative modelling frameworks have proved useful for explaining ecosystem response to perturbations, while requiring fewer information and providing more general predictions. However, current qualitative methods have some shortcomings which may limit their utility for specific issues. In this paper, we propose the Ecological Discrete-Event Network (EDEN), an innovative qualitative dynamic modelling framework based on "if-then" rules which generates many alternative event sequences (trajectories). Based on expert knowledge, observations and literature, we use this framework to assess the effect of permanent changes in surface water and herbivores diversity on vegetation and socio-economic transitions in an East African savanna. Results show that water availability drives changes in vegetation and socio-economic transitions, while herbivore functional groups had highly contrasted effects depending on the group. This first use of EDEN in a savanna context is promising for bridging expert knowledge and ecosystem modelling.

Keywords

ecosystem dynamics; discrete-event model; qualitative modelling; boolean model; state-and-transition model

Subject

EARTH SCIENCES, Environmental Sciences

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