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Socio-technical scales in socio-environmental modeling: Managing a system-of-systems modeling approach

October 21, 2020

System-of-systems approaches for integrated assessments have become prevalent in recent years. Such approaches integrate a variety of models from different disciplines and modeling paradigms to represent a socio-environmental (or social-ecological) system aiming to holistically inform policy and decision-making processes. Central to the system-of-systems approaches is the representation of systems in a multi-tier framework with nested scales. Current modeling paradigms, however, have disciplinary-specific lineage, leading to inconsistencies in the conceptualization and integration of socio-environmental systems. In this paper, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, from engineering, natural and social sciences, have come together to detail socio-technical practices and challenges that arise in the consideration of scale throughout the socio-environmental modeling process. We identify key paths forward, focused on explicit consideration of scale and uncertainty, strengthening interdisciplinary communication, and improvement of the documentation process. We call for a grand vision (and commensurate funding) for holistic system-of-systems research that engages researchers, stakeholders, and policy makers in a multi-tiered process for the co-creation of knowledge and solutions to major socio-environmental problems.

Publication Year 2021
Title Socio-technical scales in socio-environmental modeling: Managing a system-of-systems modeling approach
DOI 10.1016/j.envsoft.2020.104885
Authors Takuya Iwanaga, Hsiao-Hsuan Wang, Serena Hamilton, Volker Grimm, Tomasz Koralewski, Alejandro Salado, Sondoss Elsawah, Saman Razavi, Jing-Feng Yang, Pierre D. Glynn, Jennifer Badham, Alexey Voinov, Mingshu Chen, William Grant, Tarla Rai Peterson, Karin Frank, Gary W. Shenk, C. Michael Barton, Anthony J. Jakeman, John C. Little
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Modelling and Software
Index ID 70246307
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division