Model Aggregation and Simplification in Sustainable Environmental Management

By Peter A. Khaiter and Marina G. Erechtchoukova.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainable environmental management is only possible within an ecosystem-based approach. It requires long-term decision making and, given the degree of ecosystem uncertainty and dynamics, it is hardly achievable without simulation modelling. Real-scale frameworks consistst of simulators with different temporal and spacial resolution, and an obvious problem is to unify the interaction of inputs and outputs of different models in the framework. There is also a well-known dilemma of large models versus small models. Sophisticated models involve a large number of state variables and even larger number of parameters. They are characterized by long development cycles, high costs and difficulties with communicating to and understanding by decision and policy makers, general public and other stakeholders of the environmental tools. For these reasons, very often a preference is given to small and simple ecological models over large and comprehensive models. It is, however, important to keep descriptive and forecasting power of the model and to provide practitioners with a tool sufficient for the purposes of environmental decision making and management. The paper presents an approach permitting to overcome both methodological problems using the methods of experiment design as a means of both model aggregation and building a simple model from existing large simulation model developed for a particular environmental problem. The proposed approach is illustrated by a case study on sustainable management of a forested watershed.

Keywords: Model Aggregation, Model Simplification, Ecological System, Experiment Design, Sustainable Environmental Management, Response Surface Methodology, Stakeholders

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.227-242. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.610MB).

Prof. Peter A. Khaiter

Assistant Professor, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada

Dr. Khaiter is an Assistant Professor of Information Technology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Canada. He received his BS and MS degrees in Economic Cybernetics, MS in Environmental Studies and PhD in Mathematical Modelling/Information Technology. Author of more than 60 research papers. Fields of work: sustainable development, socio-economic and ecological systems, economic valuation and management of natural resources, environmental economics, mathematical modelling of complex systems, information systems for environmental monitoring and sustainable management.

Prof. Marina G. Erechtchoukova

Assistant Professor, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada

Dr. Erechtchoukova is an Assistant Professor of Information Technology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Canada. She received her BS and MS degrees in Applied Mathematics and PhD in Computer Science. Author of more than 55 research papers. Fields of work: application of information technology for sustainable environmental resource management and environmental monitoring, data-driven and model-driven decision support, and simulation modeling for environmental assessment.

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