Systems analysis is a quantitative and multidisciplinary research field aimed at combining, interpreting and communicating knowledge from natural and social sciences, and technology. Environmental systems analysis is the application of systems analysis in the environmental field to describe and analyse the causes, mechanisms, effects of, and potential solution for specific environmental problems.
All ESA research is related to the topic Environmental change and Society. Within this topic we identify two specific fields: Pollution & Nutrients (e.g. causes and impacts of pollution, nitrogen fluxes, uncertainty analysis and scale issues in modelling) and Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (e.g. quantification and valuation of ecosystem functions and services). Within the broader topic we mainly focus on climate change (e.g. impact assessments, mitigation and adaptation strategies). The ESA research approaches and tools include, for example:
- Appraisal tools for ecosystem functions, services and their valuation,
- Models integrating different components, dimensions and scales,
- Decision support systems for integrated pollution and/or ecosystem management,
- Integrated environmental assessments with special emphasis on participatory methods, and
- Methods for analyzing and communicating uncertainty.
These tools are applied to further assess and develop policies and management options, and to provide input into national and international decision making processes.
The Environmental Systems Analysis Group participates in the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK) which belongs to the National Research School Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE).