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Participatory modelling for conceptualizing social-ecological system dynamics in the Bangladesh delta

Participatory modelling for conceptualizing social-ecological system dynamics in the Bangladesh delta
Participatory modelling for conceptualizing social-ecological system dynamics in the Bangladesh delta
The concept of complex social-ecological systems (SES) as a means for capturing system dynamics properties (e.g. interactions and feedbacks) has gained attention in policymaking and advancing evidence in understanding complex systems. In contexts with limited data, conceptual system dynamic models offer a promising entry point to overcome challenges in understanding SES dynamics, which is essential for managing the long-term sustainability of SES and human wellbeing. Here, we build on previous work focused on agricultural production and use participatory approaches to develop a conceptual System Dynamics (SD) model for the south-west coastal SES in Bangladesh encompassing multiple forms of livelihood (fisheries, shrimp farming and forests, as well as agriculture). Using qualitative methods, including focus group discussions with farmers, fishermen, shrimp farmers and forest people, as well as expert consultations, we identified interactions, feedback loops and thresholds for the SES. The conceptual system model developed independently by stakeholders is consistent with a model developed using an empirical approach and literature review. Feedback loops are identified for the ecological (e.g. climate and water, mangrove and salinity) and social (e.g. shrimp farming and mangrove, agricultural (e.g. crops) production and subsidy) sub-systems in the Bangladesh delta. The biophysical thresholds that impact social conditions include river water discharge (1500 to 2000 m3 s−1), climate (28 °C) and soil salinity (~4 to ~10 dS m−1). Exceeding these thresholds suggests that SES may lose resilience in the near future and increase the likelihood of regime shifts. Findings of this study contribute to the management of the deltaic ecosystem and provide specific policy recommendations for improving environmental sustainability and human well-being in the Bangladesh delta and can be further used as inputs into system dynamic modelling to simulate changes in this SES.
Feedbacks, Participatory modelling, Regime shifts, Social-ecological systems (SES), Thresholds
1436-3798
Hossain, Sarwar
2eea06cb-2fc3-4a42-af9f-806421ce70f6
Ramirez, Jorge
470d3ccc-1bfb-44df-84a3-2c762b916254
Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Amoako johnson, Fiifi
e348fd15-9fe2-472f-a701-2980b8cec4d5
Speranza, Chinwe Ifejika
cad44598-3bbe-4410-8ddc-463d391a0184
Dearing, John A.
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Hossain, Sarwar
2eea06cb-2fc3-4a42-af9f-806421ce70f6
Ramirez, Jorge
470d3ccc-1bfb-44df-84a3-2c762b916254
Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Amoako johnson, Fiifi
e348fd15-9fe2-472f-a701-2980b8cec4d5
Speranza, Chinwe Ifejika
cad44598-3bbe-4410-8ddc-463d391a0184
Dearing, John A.
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7

Hossain, Sarwar, Ramirez, Jorge, Szabo, Sylvia, Eigenbrod, Felix, Amoako johnson, Fiifi, Speranza, Chinwe Ifejika and Dearing, John A. (2020) Participatory modelling for conceptualizing social-ecological system dynamics in the Bangladesh delta. Regional Environmental Change, 20 (1), [28]. (doi:10.1007/s10113-020-01599-5).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The concept of complex social-ecological systems (SES) as a means for capturing system dynamics properties (e.g. interactions and feedbacks) has gained attention in policymaking and advancing evidence in understanding complex systems. In contexts with limited data, conceptual system dynamic models offer a promising entry point to overcome challenges in understanding SES dynamics, which is essential for managing the long-term sustainability of SES and human wellbeing. Here, we build on previous work focused on agricultural production and use participatory approaches to develop a conceptual System Dynamics (SD) model for the south-west coastal SES in Bangladesh encompassing multiple forms of livelihood (fisheries, shrimp farming and forests, as well as agriculture). Using qualitative methods, including focus group discussions with farmers, fishermen, shrimp farmers and forest people, as well as expert consultations, we identified interactions, feedback loops and thresholds for the SES. The conceptual system model developed independently by stakeholders is consistent with a model developed using an empirical approach and literature review. Feedback loops are identified for the ecological (e.g. climate and water, mangrove and salinity) and social (e.g. shrimp farming and mangrove, agricultural (e.g. crops) production and subsidy) sub-systems in the Bangladesh delta. The biophysical thresholds that impact social conditions include river water discharge (1500 to 2000 m3 s−1), climate (28 °C) and soil salinity (~4 to ~10 dS m−1). Exceeding these thresholds suggests that SES may lose resilience in the near future and increase the likelihood of regime shifts. Findings of this study contribute to the management of the deltaic ecosystem and provide specific policy recommendations for improving environmental sustainability and human well-being in the Bangladesh delta and can be further used as inputs into system dynamic modelling to simulate changes in this SES.

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Accepted/In Press date: 27 October 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 February 2020
Keywords: Feedbacks, Participatory modelling, Regime shifts, Social-ecological systems (SES), Thresholds

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441465
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441465
ISSN: 1436-3798
PURE UUID: c0e8b083-ca5a-494d-b260-175ed01ba58d
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X
ORCID for John A. Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Jun 2020 16:40
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:56

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Contributors

Author: Sarwar Hossain
Author: Jorge Ramirez
Author: Sylvia Szabo
Author: Felix Eigenbrod ORCID iD
Author: Fiifi Amoako johnson
Author: Chinwe Ifejika Speranza
Author: John A. Dearing ORCID iD

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