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S6: Integrated Catchment Management: How can modelling tools and techniques help?

Page: Main.S6 - Last Modified : Sun, 29 Jun 08

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D. N. Lerner, Catchment Science Centre, Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, UK
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D.N. Lerner, Catchment Science Centre, Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, UK
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Description

Recently, several European Union Directives (e.g. the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive, and the proposed Soil Thematic Strategy) have called for Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) to be put into practice, identifying whole-catchment modeling as a key supporting element. Catchments are physically-defined spatial units, drained by a river and its tributaries. Multiple environmental processes operate within any given catchment (e.g. surface and subsurface water flow, biogeochemical transformations, biological interactions, etc.), and these processes are of concern for environmental management. However, catchments are also the focus for the domestic, working and recreational lives of their population, and as such are the loci for complex social and economic interactions. The fundamental challenge that ICM presents to decision makers is how to balance competing and often conflicting physical, chemical, biological, social and economic demands that are placed on catchments. Modelling of the likely outcomes of different decision scenarios may be able to support decision making, but only if multiple individual catchment processes, and also their interactions, can be accommodated using simple yet robust approaches. We believe there are clear challenges and opportunities here that the environmental modelling community can address. Substantial research effort has been directed towards understanding complex environmental problems. The current drive in the environmental arena towards catchment-scale management requires integrated analysis of the natural and social worlds, supported by integrated modelling systems. It also asks us to better integrate science and policy to understand and manage the links between natural processes and anthropogenic influences. Such challenges are often not being addressed successfully, except in a piecemeal fashion, because of the formidable challenges of comprehending and modelling the extensive interconnections between different sub-systems within catchments, such as the climate system, natural ecosystems, and socio-economic systems, although each of these systems have been usefully modelled in smaller more, isolated pieces. However it is now possible, because of recent developments in data acquisition and display, information-sharing technologies, and large-scale computing and modelling, to build computer models that cover the range of sub-systems within catchments, and the major interactions among them. In recent years, many techniques for use within catchment-scale modelling have emerged, ranging from graphical probabilistic techniques to agent based AI techniques. This aim of this session will be to present recent theoretical and applied works in the area of modelling to support ICM.

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Description

Recently, several European Union Directives (e.g. the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive, and the proposed Soil Thematic Strategy) have called for Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) to be put into practice, identifying whole-catchment modeling as a key supporting element. Catchments are physically-defined spatial units, drained by a river and its tributaries. Multiple environmental processes operate within any given catchment (e.g. surface and subsurface water flow, biogeochemical transformations, biological interactions, etc.), and these processes are of concern for environmental management. However, catchments are also the focus for the domestic, working and recreational lives of their population, and as such are the loci for complex social and economic interactions. The fundamental challenge that ICM presents to decision makers is how to balance competing and often conflicting physical, chemical, biological, social and economic demands that are placed on catchments. Modelling of the likely outcomes of different decision scenarios may be able to support decision making, but only if multiple individual catchment processes, and also their interactions, can be accommodated using simple yet robust approaches. We believe there are clear challenges and opportunities here that the environmental modelling community can address. Substantial research effort has been directed towards understanding complex environmental problems. The current drive in the environmental arena towards catchment-scale management requires integrated analysis of the natural and social worlds, supported by integrated modelling systems. It also asks us to better integrate science and policy to understand and manage the links between natural processes and anthropogenic influences. Such challenges are often not being addressed successfully, except in a piecemeal fashion, because of the formidable challenges of comprehending and modelling the extensive interconnections between different sub-systems within catchments, such as the climate system, natural ecosystems, and socio-economic systems, although each of these systems have been usefully modelled in smaller more, isolated pieces. However it is now possible, because of recent developments in data acquisition and display, information-sharing technologies, and large-scale computing and modelling, to build computer models that cover the range of sub-systems within catchments, and the major interactions among them. In recent years, many techniques for use within catchment-scale modelling have emerged, ranging from graphical probabilistic techniques to agent based AI techniques. This aim of this session will be to present recent theoretical and applied works in the area of modelling to support ICM.

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