The work of the Integrated Land Use Systems Group aims at understanding how social, economic and biophysical processes interact to influence socio-ecosystem function, particularly in relation to land-use, and to use this understanding to evaluate options for sustainable land management of relevance to policy-making.
To do this, the Group is developing and applying innovative ways of integrating the social, economic and biophysical components of land use systems using concepts from the emerging field of socio-ecology, which synthesises ideas from political ecology, environmental ethics, ecological economics, historical ecology, and research on common property institutions and indigenous knowledge.
This synthesis is achieved through a combination of modelling approaches and stakeholder involvement. The current focus is on the use of agent-based social modelling, farm household modelling, integrated landscape modelling, and visualisation techniques.
We are currently concentrating on three main gaps in our knowledge:
- As the processes of decision-making by land managers are not well-understood, social scientists and modellers are working together to develop explicit models of decision-making, which will be used to study the impact of various policy and climate change scenarios on the decisions made and actions taken by land managers.
- Interdisciplinary work is also being undertaken to improve our knowledge of the way that institutions and social networks related to land use develop, function, and are maintained.
- As models that explicitly incorporate both social and biophysical processes, and the interactions between them, are in their infancy, work is focusing on effective ways of integrating these two classes of models.
These approaches will be applied both to issues of relevance to Scotland and also to the emerging global research agenda on earth systems science, particularly in relation to the following themes:
- Climate change
- Enhancing biodiversity
- Sustainable rural communities
Further information can be found below
Updated: 24 Apr 2013, Content by: DM