Land systems are coupled social-environmental systems (SES) that are characterized by intrinsic complexity entailing non-linear dynamics, self-organization, multi-scale feedbacks, and emergence. Modelling the complex interactions and feedbacks in SES is pivotal to understand the essence of land-system behaviors and characteristics, such as regime shifts, path dependence, and system resilience, and has profound policy implications in transforming land systems towards the SDGs. It is particularly challenging to model interactions between the social and environmental sub-systems in an integrated framework due to, for example, the mismatch in spatial and temporal scales. So far, most SES models are unbalanced and loosely-coupled with a focus on one of the sub-systems. Variables from the environmental sub-system often merely serve as boundary conditions or constraining factors in a predominately social model, or the other way around; dynamic interactions between human and environment are to date weakly implemented.
The goal of this session is to assess the current status, identify challenges and opportunities, and discuss new trends in modelling human-environment interactions in land systems. Session topics will cover the following theories and concepts:
· Human-environmental systems; complexity; complex system thinking
· Regime shifts, tipping points, and critical transition of land systems
· Path dependence, lock-in, path breaking
· System dynamics; differential/difference equations; agent-based models
· Human decision-making; integrated modelling.
Followed by a general introduction, we will have four panelists to give 5-minute flash talks to set the scene for the discussion. We will engage the audience using crowd-sourcing methods such as instant polling with Poll Everywhere and Slido to ensure that all thoughts of the audience are heard and to enable active participation and engagement. Depending on the size of the audience, we will use World Café or Fishbowl to facilitate open discussions on the key questions identified. We will strive to jointly produce a position paper on potential ways forward in SES models of land systems (TBD).
Session Organizers: Zhanli Sun, Daniel Müller, Birgit Müller, Martha Bakker, Pytrik Reidsma, and Dawn Parker