22: Model Integration

MCED Chapter 22


Model Integration: Application in Ecology and for Management


Dietmar Kraft

Abstract (from the book)

Integrated Environmental Modelling (IEM) is a prospering and multifaceted field of science. Many research projects employ several individual models in combination in order to describe entire ecosystems. The skill is to join and integrate these models with the according data and other knowledge on a technical as well as on a conceptual level. IEM has become a prerequisite for modern environmental management and has been promoted by fundamental changes in environmental politics in the last decade. The goal and strength of IEM is the interpolation of information on local ecosystem behaviour and the extrapolation and transfer of results to other locations, to different scenarios and into the future.

This chapter deals with the integration of models, data and information to represent and analyse dynamics of complex ecosystems by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS can either act as a framework to combine data and execute separate (and incorporated) models, or can simply be applied to manipulate data used by autonomous models.

Three specific application examples illustrate possible structures and functionalities of IEM and highlight the benefit of using GIS to join data, models and information. Along with many challenges concerning the conceptual details of model joining and integration of information and knowledge, the use of GIS to support IEM is extremely beneficial, and constantly drives advancements in ecosystem research