Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management: Minimal Redefinition of a Known Challenge for Environmental Modelling. de Rigo, D.
Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management: Minimal Redefinition of a Known Challenge for Environmental Modelling [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
[Excerpt] How do we interpret and cope with the complex challenges of the changing global environment, culture and society? Among the many ways to do so, a key perspective considers the possibilities and limits of our Earth system as a whole. Mankind exploits Earth's resources to live, increasingly altering incredibly complex systems of systems. Over the centuries, our influence has grown in intensity and pervasivity, spanning at multiple scales over ecology, climate, transport and connectivity even among far (and until recently weakly interrelated) systems. This cascade of feedbacks among environmental and anthropic systems generates a wide array of ecological, geopolitical, social, health and cultural consequences. Changes in one system may reverberate faster than before in the other interconnected systems, with potentially reinforcing loops among multiple systems. Will the critical systems on which we depend be resilient to the potential impact of multiple disturbances, hazards and vulnerabilities, under partially unknown changing patterns of drivers and pressures? [\n] Human population experienced a growth from approximately 1 billion people in 1800 to 5 billions in 1987, 6 billions in 1999 and 7 billions in 2012. Demand for food, energy and materials is growing with uneven regional patterns of health, nutrition, economic inequality, literacy and access to knowledge. The availability, dynamics and sustainability of the resources in the Earth system plays, literally, a vital role. Clean air, water and food security, energy, protection form natural and biological hazards, disaster risk management and mitigation, availability of materials and more immaterial goods, genetic conservation and preservation of strategic assets and heritage heavily depend on the state of Earth natural resources. In this respect, the multi-scale intricacy and huge stakes linked to the global economy are just a subset of the overall complexity we face. Unfortunately, the chain of deep consequences potentially associated to policy decisions affecting natural resources is definitely beyond the "common sense" and requires new cultural tools able to overcome disciplinary barriers and to support urgent decisions under high stakes and uncertainty. Building and transferring this transdisciplinary culture to the new generations is part of the challenge - which is not only technical and scientific but also cognitive, epistemological and educational. Natural resources are intrinsically entangled in complex causal networks [...] whose management is increasingly complicated due to the need to reliably model the climate change along with the "feedbacks between the social and biophysical systems" and due to huge economic and social impacts of their management policies. These policies could greatly benefit from the possibility to integrate risk assessment and multipurpose use optimization of different resources. [\n] Water resources directly affect agriculture, drinking water and energy supply while also determining flood and drought risks, whose mitigation impose severe constraints to the effectiveness of seasonal water allocation. River catchments land cover influences the precipitation-runoff relationship and especially forest resources play a decisive role in exacerbating or mitigating moderate floods and soil erosion. While land cover directly affects soil erosion either positively (i.e. forests cover and good agricultural practices) or negatively (wildfire- or pest-degraded cover and bad agricultural practices), climate and climate change affect soil erosion both indirectly by driving land cover changes and directly varying precipitation intensity and duration. Plant pest outbreaks also intensely affect land cover as well as wildfires and other disturbances influence the connectivity of habitats and the overall landscape, either quantitatively (the plant species composition of forests and of agriculture areas) or qualitatively (e.g. sudden pest-induced disruption of forests). [\n] At the same time, soil erosion influences water sediment transport, water resources quality and water storage loss. These premises make improvement and integration of these natural resources - forest, soil, water resources - and land use management a high priority which needs to link many aspects, among which those related to renewable energy, in a multicriteria approach. [\n] However, this integration implies challenging issues with respect to the effective exploitation of available data and updated description of physical subsystems (both of them are typically heterogeneous and frequently changing sets). Data uncertainty, incomplete and evolving knowledge of connections and feedbacks among physical systems (system of systems), modelling and software uncertainty play a role (difficult to assess) in the discovery, reuse and adaptation of existing domain specific models for transdisciplinary data-transformations of interest and in the scalability of classical monolithic integration systems. [...]
@article{derigoIntegratedNaturalResources2012,
  title = {Integrated {{Natural Resources Modelling}} and {{Management}}: Minimal Redefinition of a Known Challenge for Environmental Modelling},
  author = {de Rigo, Daniele},
  date = {2012},
  url = {http://w3id.org/mtv/INRMM},
  abstract = {[Excerpt] How do we interpret and cope with the complex challenges of the changing global environment, culture and society? Among the many ways to do so, a key perspective considers the possibilities and limits of our Earth system as a whole. Mankind exploits Earth's resources to live, increasingly altering incredibly complex systems of systems. Over the centuries, our influence has grown in intensity and pervasivity, spanning at multiple scales over ecology, climate, transport and connectivity even among far (and until recently weakly interrelated) systems. This cascade of feedbacks among environmental and anthropic systems generates a wide array of ecological, geopolitical, social, health and cultural consequences. Changes in one system may reverberate faster than before in the other interconnected systems, with potentially reinforcing loops among multiple systems. Will the critical systems on which we depend be resilient to the potential impact of multiple disturbances, hazards and vulnerabilities, under partially unknown changing patterns of drivers and pressures? 

[\textbackslash n] Human population experienced a growth from approximately 1 billion people in 1800 to 5 billions in 1987, 6 billions in 1999 and 7 billions in 2012. Demand for food, energy and materials is growing with uneven regional patterns of health, nutrition, economic inequality, literacy and access to knowledge. The availability, dynamics and sustainability of the resources in the Earth system plays, literally, a vital role. Clean air, water and food security, energy, protection form natural and biological hazards, disaster risk management and mitigation, availability of materials and more immaterial goods, genetic conservation and preservation of strategic assets and heritage heavily depend on the state of Earth natural resources. In this respect, the multi-scale intricacy and huge stakes linked to the global economy are just a subset of the overall complexity we face. Unfortunately, the chain of deep consequences potentially associated to policy decisions affecting natural resources is definitely beyond the "common sense" and requires new cultural tools able to overcome disciplinary barriers and to support urgent decisions under high stakes and uncertainty. Building and transferring this transdisciplinary culture to the new generations is part of the challenge - which is not only technical and scientific but also cognitive, epistemological and educational. 

Natural resources are intrinsically entangled in complex causal networks [...] whose management is increasingly complicated due to the need to reliably model the climate change along with the "feedbacks between the social and biophysical systems" and due to huge economic and social impacts of their management policies. These policies could greatly benefit from the possibility to integrate risk assessment and multipurpose use optimization of different resources.

[\textbackslash n] Water resources directly affect agriculture, drinking water and energy supply while also determining flood and drought risks, whose mitigation impose severe constraints to the effectiveness of seasonal water allocation. River catchments land cover influences the precipitation-runoff relationship and especially forest resources play a decisive role in exacerbating or mitigating moderate floods and soil erosion. While land cover directly affects soil erosion either positively (i.e. forests cover and good agricultural practices) or negatively (wildfire- or pest-degraded cover and bad agricultural practices), climate and climate change affect soil erosion both indirectly by driving land cover changes and directly varying precipitation intensity and duration. Plant pest outbreaks also intensely affect land cover as well as wildfires and other disturbances influence the connectivity of habitats and the overall landscape, either quantitatively (the plant species composition of forests and of agriculture areas) or qualitatively (e.g. sudden pest-induced disruption of forests). 

[\textbackslash n] At the same time, soil erosion influences water sediment transport, water resources quality and water storage loss. These premises make improvement and integration of these natural resources - forest, soil, water resources - and land use management a high priority which needs to link many aspects, among which those related to renewable energy, in a multicriteria approach.

[\textbackslash n] However, this integration implies challenging issues with respect to the effective exploitation of available data and updated description of physical subsystems (both of them are typically heterogeneous and frequently changing sets). Data uncertainty, incomplete and evolving knowledge of connections and feedbacks among physical systems (system of systems), modelling and software uncertainty play a role (difficult to assess) in the discovery, reuse and adaptation of existing domain specific models for transdisciplinary data-transformations of interest and in the scalability of classical monolithic integration systems. [...]},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13840239,complexity,definition,integrated-natural-resources-modelling-and-management,integration-techniques,manifesto,uncertainty},
  options = {useprefix=true}
}
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