Modeling social-ecological problems in coastal ecosystems: a case study

John Martin Forrester, Richard Taylor, Richard Brian Greaves, Howard Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Complex social-ecological systems (SES) are not amenable to simple mathematical modeling. However, to address critical issues in SES (e.g., understanding ecological resilience/amelioration of poverty) it is necessary to describe such systems in their entirety. Based on empirical knowledge of local stakeholders and experts, we mapped their conceptions of one SES. Modelers codified what actors told us into two models: a local-level model and an overarching multiple-entity description of the system. Looking at these two representations together helps us understand links between the locally specific and other levels of decision taking and vice-versa. This “bimodeling” approach is investigated in one SES in coastal Kenya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Early online date20 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • agent-based models; unified modeling language; participatory modeling

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