Special Issue “Towards Sustainable Land-Water Interactions in the Anthropocene: The Role of Stakeholder Engagement and Participatory Modelling”
Land, water, and society are intrinsically interconnected through the metabolism of human activity, influenced by demographic shifts and economic development, urbanization and agricultural expansion, the extraction of natural resources and the production of waste. Human activities are capable of altering how water flows through the landscape, affecting its quantity and quality at an unprecedented scale. To understand the full dimension of land-water interactions in the Anthropocene, and to use this understanding to inform management, it is therefore, necessary to integrate knowledge from fields as diverse as hydrology, soil science, human geography, economics, anthropology, law, and human behavior. There is also an increasing awareness that early and meaningful engagement of stakeholders in decision-making is essential to find successful and implementable pathways supportive of sustainable and resilient futures. Our ability to tackle this multifaceted theme in a comprehensive, robust, and systematic manner is still limited. To move forward, the following questions need to be answered:
- (Understanding the system) How can we integrate and/or extend frameworks such as socio-hydrology, telecoupling, collaborative rationality, and adaptive management to support fair, responsible, and sustainable relationships among people, land, and water?
- (The role of biases, beliefs, values, heuristics) Who are the key actors and governing institutions? What services do these actors extract from land and water systems? What are the actors’ goals, objectives, and strategies, and what resources do they have to pursue them? How can we elicit and identify the biases, beliefs, values, and heuristics (BBVH) that either hinder or enable transitions towards sustainable land–water interactions? How can we steer BBHV to achieve better outcomes? How do stakeholders quantify and decide among trade-offs attached to various land and water management strategies? Who are the winners and losers, and how are any imbalances addressed?
- (Modelling the system) What theories, tools, and techniques are needed to conceptualize land–water–human interactions? What are their key strengths and weaknesses, particularly when brought into a stakeholder engagement or participatory modelling process?
- (The role of modelling) What is the role of modelling in developing a collaborative land–water science program? How does early engagement of stakeholders with scientific models of land–water interactions improve decision-making? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of gamification?
- (The role of model-enhanced stakeholder engagement) How should we design and facilitate participatory processes to improve sustainability outcomes in land-water-human systems? Which participatory modelling methods are more or less amenable to different types of stakeholders involved in land–water interactions? What are the best tools for the job in different geographical and cultural contexts? How should we follow-through on action plans?
We highly encourage submission of integrative studies that combine insights from environmental modelling and behavioral science. In doing so, this Special Issue aims to shed light on how stakeholder engagement and collaborative approaches can help disentangle the complexity of land–water–human interactions at local, national, and global levels.
Dr. Moira Zellner
Dr. Juan Carlos Castilla-Rho
Manuscript Submission Information
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