Regional water retention; policy design using dynamic ecological indicators

In complex systems, many autonomous social and physical components constantly interact. The behaviour of these systems is mainly influenced by this interaction. The Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) method tries to understand general characteristics of these systems.

At ESG, modelling metapopulation processes of plants and animals is often applied to test the sustainability of ecological networks. However, these ecological networks typically consist of patches that are continuously suitable as habitat to the species. Due to social processes, as in this case water retention areas by farmers, some patches of land may be temporarily habitat to certain species. Spatio-temporal habitat dynamics can have strong effects on species viability. Using a Complex Adaptive System (CAS, i.e. Agent Based Model) the effect can be evaluated.

The objective of this project is to design and evaluate policies for providing ecosystem services in a changing climate on a regional scale. We will focus on small scale and flexible (in space and time) water retention by farmers, and economical and ecological consequences.

The research is linked to the "top sector" policy.