The assessment should not be driven by tools (models, assessment frameworks, visualisation) but by the issue at stake and the expectations of participants. It is important to be flexible and innovative while avoiding two recurring pitfalls: ‘ready-made’ and ‘integronsters’.

Ready-made or off-the-shelf tools are those that each of us, whether scientist or manager, uses on a daily basis. The difficulty lies in deciding on a common set of tools rather than working according to one’s own habits with disparate sets of modelling, representation or evaluation tools. This can create discomfort and often requires time to learn but there are huge benefits in working on a common set of tools. The readability of the outputs, and for some of them the ease of handling by the stakeholders, must also be a criterion for choice. And it is not necessarily the most complex technology that is the most effective for this set of objectives.

The temptation to build an exhaustive representation of reality and its complexity is another major risk. Focusing on the key elements of the issue (social or environmental components, processes and interactions) and their descriptors at the spatial and temporal scales relevant to the debate or decision is essential. The same applies to the diversity of formats: qualitative data, quantitative data, conceptual models, narratives, optimisation, simulation, multi-criteria analysis, …. The search for integration through endless coupling of models, these integrating monsters called ‘integronsters’, or through graphical representations of unreadable systemic interactions must be absolutely avoided.

For additional information

View or download the complete PDF of all lessons.

Date: 2017-2023

Improving the management of atlantic landscapes: acounting for biodiversity and ecosystem services Interreg Atlantic Area, started in 2017

Coordination by J. Ballé-Béganton and D. Bailly

Photo: © Peter H / Pixabay