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Seminars (EBD)

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Event When Speaker Title Presentation Material
EBDW01 4th July 2019
09:00 to 09:30
Paula Harrison, Peter Cox Introduction to the Workshop and Programme
Workshop aims:
- Review the state-of-the-art in modelling land systems;
- Identify key knowledge gaps where collaboration between different environmental, mathematical and social science disciplines may lead to new insights, methods and tools.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
09:30 to 10:00
Bill Kunin Scaling populations and communities
Spatial population and community patterns are bedevilled by issues of spatial (and temporal) scaling.  While it is sometimes convenient to consider local (alpha) and landscape (gamma) scales of abundance or diversity separately, we need to develop approaches that can consider ranges of scales as a continuum.  This talk will focus on the scaling properties of population and community patterns, and on tools to translate information across scales. These may lead to new approaches to measuring, modelling and managing spatial ecological systems.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
10:00 to 10:30
Justin Sheffield Scaling Challenges in Hydrology and Applications to Water Resources and Food Security
EBDW01 4th July 2019
11:00 to 11:30
Panel discussion on “Spatial/temporal scaling in landscape modelling”
EBDW01 4th July 2019
11:30 to 11:50
Henry Wynn Smart Landscapes
The EU Smart Cities programme and sub programmes such as those on district heating and cooling (DHC), together with technological innovations such as electric cars and pollution free zones present a  vision of the modern city which may or may not be realised. But there are many lessons for similar visions of landscapes. In some sense the technology is the easy part. The real challenge, for modelling, is to integrate the technological, economic, social and environmental. There are matters of ownership, the development of new business models, public-private funding and  scale (national/regional/local). Contracts play a key part and we will advocate, as with cities, model-based contract design, to cope with the tensions between long-term and short-term investment and between CAPEX and OPEX. Some exemplar issues will be mentioned: the economic and social aspects of flooding, the use of wetlands for carbon capture and the citizen as energy prosumer.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
11:50 to 12:10
Gavin Stewart Decision making in the face of uncertainty: improving the evidence base to support landscape decisions
This talk will discuss the need to adopt a decision-theoretic approach to handling uncertainty both to support policy and drive future needs-led research agendas. I argue that the operational steps required to handle uncertainty are generally known, but rarely combined judiciously.  This has deleterious ramifications because uncertainties are not coherently considered in decision-making and are often downplayed in expert led science-policy interactions.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
12:10 to 12:30
Martine Barons Decision-making under uncertainty: Using subjective probabilistic judgements for decision support in pollinator abundance and food security
Hunger and food poverty is on the increase even in developed nations like the UK, USA, Canada & Australia. With a growing population and a finite planet, there is urgent need for action, but in such a large, complex system identifying the most effective action requires decision support.
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
In order to provide decision support, it is necessary to elicit probability distributions to evaluate subjective expected utility scores associated with ameliorating policies that might be enacted. When the underlying process model is extremely large and complex, this brings its own peculiar challenges. It is first necessary to elicit the overall, agreed structure describing in broad terms the underlying nature of the system from representatives of all domain experts across the system as a whole. We have now shown that this can be done formally and consistently with probability models if the elicitations concern the elicitation of dependences – formally termed irrelevances (Smith, Barons and Leonelli (2016)). Within a probability model, these irrelevance statements then transform into assertions about various conditional independence statements. These, in turn, can be used to determine how the system can be divided up into (conditionally) independent segments. The quantitative expert judgements associated with each segment of the process can then be delegated to a relevant panel of experts. The implicit (albeit virtual) owner of beliefs expressed in the system will be referred to as the supraBayesian , meaning that the decision-making group acts as a single person would and it is her coherence that we are concerned with. Under suitable conditions it can then be shown that the elicited overarching structure can compose these judgments together to form a coherent probabilistic model to score different options available to the user, termed an integrating decisions support system (IDSS).

One element of the overarching food poverty models is food supply, and key to parts of this is an abundant and healthy population of pollinating insects to pollination services for food. In 2014 the UK government undertook a consultation and produced their pollinator strategy for the next 10 years “to see pollinators thrive, providing essential pollination services and benefits for food production, the wider environment and everyone.” However, the evidence base on the complex system driving pollinator vigour and numbers is patchy and held in disparate domains of expertise, making the evaluation of policy options problematic. In this talk I will describe how we are in the process of developing an IDSS based on these theoretical developments, and how a probabilistic model for pollinator abundance incorporating structured expert elicitation will then form a sub-module of this IDSS for policies relating to household food insecurity.

J. Q. Smith, M.J. Barons, and M. Leonelli. Coherent inference for integrating decision support systems. arXiv, 2016. http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.07394.

Co-authors: Jim Q. Smith, Manuele Leonelli
EBDW01 4th July 2019
14:00 to 14:30
Panel discussion on “Decision-making in the face of uncertainty”
EBDW01 4th July 2019
14:30 to 15:00
Calum Brown The need (and opportunity) for improved modelling of land use decision-making
Computational modelling is a key tool in efforts to understand the dynamics of socio-ecological systems. Many models, however, tightly constrain those dynamics by making assumptions about economic equilibrium and optimisation in social systems, and mean-field or trend-based behaviour in ecological systems. Recent research has revealed that, contrary to these assumptions, small-scale behavioural processes shape the dynamics and interactions in socio-ecological systems across scales. Concurrently, data resources and computational tools have advanced to the point that simulation of these processes is increasingly feasible. I will present some recent advances, opportunities and challenges for simulating the role of human behaviour in land use change, building on conceptual and computational examples from both ecology and social science.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
15:00 to 15:30
Adam Kleczkowski Weakest-link control of invasive species: Impacts of memory, bounded rationality and network structure in repeated cooperative games
The nature of dispersal of many invasive pests and pathogens in agricultural and forestry makes it necessary to consider how the actions of one manager affect neighbouring properties. In addition to the direct effects of a potential spread of a pest and the resulting economic loss, there are also indirect consequences that affect whole regions and that require coordinated actions to manage and/or to eradicate it (like movement restrictions). In this talk we address the emergence and stability of cooperation among agents who respond to a threat of an invasive pest or disease. The model, based on the weakest-link paradigm, uses repeated multi-participant coordination games where players’ pay-offs depend on management decisions to prevent the invasion on their own land as well as of their neighbours on a network. We show that for the basic cooperation game agents select the risk-dominant strategy of a Stag hunt game over the pay-off dominant strategy of implementing control measures. However, cooperation can be achieved by the social planner offering a biosecurity payment. The critical level of this payment depends on the details of the decision-making process, with higher trust (based on reputation of other agents reflecting their past performance) allowing significant reduction in necessary payments and slowing down decay in cooperation when the payment is low. We also find that allowing for uncertainty in decision-making process can enhance cooperation for low levels of payments. Finally, we show the importance of industry structure to the emergence of cooperation, with increase in the average coordination number of network nodes leading to increase in the critical biosecurity payment.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
16:00 to 16:30
Panel discussion on “Modelling social/human processes in landscapes”
EBDW01 4th July 2019
16:30 to 16:50
Ian Holman Model(er) coupling in integrated modelling platforms
There is increasing recognition that simulating the complexity of human-environmental landscapes and associated decision making requires the integration of models or numerical representation of the processes influencing competition for, or access to, space, water etc and their interactions, inter-dependencies and feedbacks. Coupling of pre-existing models is one approach to providing this integration. This presentation will discuss the practical approaches taken to facilitate model coupling in the UK/European scale CLIMSAVE and IMPRESSIONS integrated modelling platforms, and how uncertainty and error propagation were evaluated. It will also consider the importance of modellers as sources of uncertainty within the projections from such coupled modelling systems.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
16:50 to 17:10
Mark Rounsevell Model coupling in land system science
The land system is a complex system. It depends on a miriad of interactions between individual, heterogenous land users, on the variability of the physical environment (soils, climate, …) and on the diversity of societal structures including communities, institutions and public policy organisations. Many modelling approaches have been proposed to represent land systems, with the dominant paradigm based on economic optimisation. However, assuming that individual land managers make decisions about land use based on economic rational alone is a serious simplication of the complex land system. In practice, we know that individuals make land use decisions based on many, often conflicting factors such as risk aversion, social standing, tradition and environmental impact within the context of having imperfect access to knowledge. And that many of these processes play out at different spatial scale levels. In this presentation I will explore how different approaches to modelling land systems can be coupled across scales in order to capture the salient processes at each scale level. This includes modelling of land-based commodity trade-flows at the global scale, sub-national agent-based modelling of land use decision making, and the representation of public policy organisations that influence land users locally.
EBDW01 4th July 2019
17:10 to 17:30
Gordon Blair Middleware to Support Model Coupling in Landscape Decision Making
Middleware is a term that refers to a layer of software that sits on top of an underlying computational infrastructure, providing a programming model to support the development of applications and services, and hiding the complexity of the underlying (inevitably distributed) infrastructure. This has been an area of intense activity both in academia and industry and a number of solutions and associated platforms have been proposed. Middleware has significant advantages in terms of interoperability and reduction in development time through re-use. This talk will pose the question of the role of middleware in supporting integrated environmental modelling, with a particular focus on supporting model coupling. The talk will highlight a significant gap between the functionality of existing middleware standards and platforms and the needs of the environmental sciences community, including in the important and demanding area of landscape decision-making. This is partially down to the focus of middleware on representing the end system behaviour, e.g. in service-oriented architecture, when in fact much of the complexity is in the interconnection or coupling between services. A further key reason is the domain specific requirements of modelling in terms of, for example: i) the need to understand the semantics of environmental concepts; ii) the subsequent need to manage mappings between the outputs of one model and the inputs of another, e.g. using arbitrary transfer functions; iii) the need to support reasoning across scales; iv) the important requirement to understand uncertainty in model chains including the propagation of uncertainty; v) the need to offer potentially sophisticated management of the underlying network/distributed system to deliver the right quality of service in terms of data transfer when dealing with potentially very large data sets. This talk will argue that there is an urgent need for middleware to support integrated environmental modelling, with specific focus on supporting model coupling. Furthermore, the talk will argue that this requires a fundamental rethink of middleware in terms of supporting the domain specific needs of environmental science [1].

[1] Blair, G.S. (2018). Complex distributed systems: The need for fresh perspectives. 38th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), 1410-1421, 10.1109/ICDCS.2018.00142
EBDW01 4th July 2019
17:30 to 18:00
Panel discussion on “Model coupling”
EBDW01 5th July 2019
09:00 to 09:30
Recap on the previous day
EBDW01 5th July 2019
09:30 to 10:00
John Dearing Revealing the complex dynamics of real landscape systems
This talk examines landscape change from the perspective of complex social-ecological systems evolving through time. Such a perspective can reveal ‘hidden’ complex behaviour that may interact unpredictably with decision-making. These include feedback loops, system instabilities, critical transitions and trade-offs. Knowing the complex behaviours, such as feedback loops, within a system can help decision-makers avoid tipping points and traps in order to keep within ecologically sustainable and socially acceptable limits. There are two parts to the talk. a) Multiple time-series. Here, research analyses multiple time-series of social, economic, ecological, and climate variables covering the past few decades to help elucidate important changes in system interactions. In eastern China, studies at several sites show long term economic growth since 1950 as a trade-off with environmental deterioration, especially water quality. In western China, detailed studies of the lake Erhai lake-catchment system reveal the interactions between agriculture, climate and water management that led to a critical transition in the aquatic ecosystem in 2001. In the UK, a similar approach shows rapid agricultural intensification driving significant environmental degradation in England in the early 1980s, but with a recovery in most ecosystem services after 2000. However, the lack of recovery in farmland biodiversity and the ‘offshoring’ of some impacts represent major negative trade-offs. b) Systems modelling. Here, a case-study describes a systems model designed to guide decision-makers in the setting of ‘safe and just operating spaces’ for sustainable management. Monte Carlo simulations of fish catch from India's Chilika lagoon over the next 40 years are compared to conditions that are ecologically and socio-economically desirable. Akin to a satellite-navigation system, the model identifies multidimensional pathways giving at least a 75% chance of achieving the desirable future.
EBDW01 5th July 2019
10:00 to 10:30
Peter Ashwin Nonlinearities, tipping points and regime shifts
EBDW01 5th July 2019
10:30 to 11:00
Panel discussion on “Non-linearities”
EBDW01 5th July 2019
11:30 to 11:50
Daniel Williamson Scalable Uncertainty Quantification for calibrating spatio-temporal models
I'll present work on emulating and calibrating the spatial fields output by climate models in the hope that participants who run or develop land models see natural crossovers and uses for our technology in quantifying uncertainty to support decision makers.
EBDW01 5th July 2019
11:50 to 12:10
Chris Dent Recent scoping studies in evidence based decision making against complex backgrounds
This talk will discuss research needs in evidence based decision making, based on scoping studies for the Centre for Digital Built Britain and the Supergen Hubnet project, the current Alan Turing Institute "Managing Uncertainty in Government Modelling" and "Use of Multiple Models Within and Organisation" project, and the presenter's own experience. This will be synthesised into suggestions of key topics for discussion during the subsequent four weeks of the Programme.
EBDW01 5th July 2019
12:10 to 12:30
Ben Marchant Issues of scale and uncertainty in landscape scale data products
Policy-makers often exploit gridded data products when making land-use decisions. These products provide information about the spatial variation of many factors associated with geology, natural resources, soil health, climate, topography and the potential occurrence of natural hazards. These products might be integrated within mathematical, statistical or machine learning models to answer specific questions regarding the need to protect the land because of its value for productive agriculture or mineral exploitation, the potential hazards associated with developing the land and the suitability of sites for particular types of infrastructure. The British Geological Survey produces many two- and three-dimensional data products (see https://www.bgs.ac.uk/data/mapViewers/home.html). We also integrate these products in decision support tools addressing many land-use questions such as the suitability of land for sustainable drainage schemes, the need for remediation of brownfield sites, the suitability of land for renewable energy production and queries regarding the cost and environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects. I will describe examples of such decision support tools particularly focusing on the issues of uncertainty in the products used to create them, the propagation of this uncertainty upon integration of these products and the potential for a mismatch of scales between the different products and the policy question being addressed. I will discuss strategies to address these issues and the information and metadata that must be provided with data products to facilitate such strategies.
EBDW01 5th July 2019
12:30 to 13:00
Panel discussion on “Benchmarking, calibration and uncertainty"
EBDW01 5th July 2019
14:00 to 15:30
Closing Panel Discussion (tbc)
EBD 9th July 2019
10:00 to 12:00
Stephen Cornell Ecological Insights from Mathematica and Individual Based Models
EBD 11th July 2019
10:00 to 12:00
Victoria Volodina Gaussian process Emulation and History Matching
EBD 12th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Michael Goldstein Model Discrepancy
EBD 12th July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Michael Goldstein Model Discrepancy - Part 2
EBD 15th July 2019
10:00 to 13:00
Oluwole Oyebamiji Uncertainty quantification in high-dimensional landscape problems using Bayesian hierarchical models
EBD 16th July 2019
09:00 to 10:00
Louise Kimpton Correlated Bernoulli Processes via de Bruijn Graphs
EBD 16th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Evan Baker Predicting the Output from a Stochastic Model when a deterministic Approximation is Available
EBD 16th July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Peter Alexander Examples of Global Food System Analysis and
EBD 17th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Brett Day Peter Alexander
EBD 17th July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Daniel Williamson The Best of Both Worlds
EBD 18th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Brett Day Social Cost Benefit Analysis - it’s better than you think … probably
EBD 18th July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Laura Graham The Scale Problem
EBD 19th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Marcel Van Oijen Probabilistic Risk Analysis for vegetation
EBD 19th July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Food Sustainability: Data and Conceptual Challenges in Indicator Development
EBD 22nd July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Jenny Hodgson Networks for Species to Survive Climate Change
EBD 23rd July 2019
11:00 to 12:00
Qingying Shu 'An indicator for resilience and security of water-energy-food (WEF) systems in industrialised nations’
EBD 24th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Elaine Spiller Forecasting volcanic hazards with uncertainty: is it over? is it safe?
EBD 25th July 2019
10:00 to 10:15
Andrew Mead FragStats
A brief description of the Fragstats package for measuring landscape structure
EBD 25th July 2019
10:15 to 11:15
James Bullock  Agland
EBD 25th July 2019
11:30 to 12:00
Chris Dent Working with Government’
EBD 25th July 2019
12:00 to 12:15
Andrew Mead Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems
EBD 26th July 2019
10:00 to 11:00
Felix Eigenbrod Non-Stationary predictors for land use change into the future
EBDW02 31st July 2019
09:20 to 09:30
Welcome from David Abrahams (Isaac Newton Institute)
EBDW02 31st July 2019
09:30 to 10:00
Paula Harrison Introduction to the Workshop and Programme
EBDW02 31st July 2019
10:00 to 10:30
Jenny Hodgson
EBDW02 31st July 2019
10:30 to 11:00
Guy Ziv
EBDW02 31st July 2019
11:30 to 12:00
Panel discussion on “Decision-making in the face of uncertainty”
EBDW02 31st July 2019
12:00 to 12:30
Laura  Graham
EBDW02 31st July 2019
12:30 to 13:00
Alexis Comber
EBDW02 31st July 2019
14:30 to 15:00
Panel discussion on “Spatial/temporal scaling”
EBDW02 31st July 2019
15:00 to 15:30
James Bullock 
EBDW02 31st July 2019
15:30 to 16:00
Marcel Van Oijen
EBDW02 31st July 2019
16:30 to 17:00
Panel discussion on “Modelling processes in landscapes”
EBDW02 1st August 2019
09:30 to 10:00
Anna Harper
EBDW02 1st August 2019
10:00 to 10:30
Chris Huntingford
EBDW02 1st August 2019
10:30 to 11:00
Panel discussion on “Model coupling”
EBDW02 1st August 2019
11:30 to 12:00
Roderick Dewar
EBDW02 1st August 2019
12:00 to 12:30
Richard Sibly
EBDW02 1st August 2019
12:30 to 13:00
Panel discussion on “Benchmarking, calibration and uncertainty (including model emulation)”
EBDW02 1st August 2019
14:30 to 15:30
Breakout groups around research innovation and need clusters identified during panel discussions
EBDW02 1st August 2019
16:00 to 18:00
Reporting back from breakout groups and synthesis of innovations and needs
EBDW03 7th September 2020
13:30 to 13:40
Welcome and Introduction from David Abrahams (INI Director) and Jane Leeks (Newton Gateway to Mathematics)
EBDW03 7th September 2020
13:40 to 14:00
Peter Challenor Decision Making under Uncertainty
The next few years will be crucial for the future of the UK landscape. There are important decisions that need to be made about agricultural policy, nature conservation and how we respond to a changing climate. All these decisions will involve large amounts of uncertainty. How can we produce decision support tools that will help in the process? In this talk I will investigate some fo the methods currently used to aid decision makers by combining data and models and point out their advantages and disadvantages. I will also look at some other new directions that could solve some of these problems.  




EBDW03 7th September 2020
14:00 to 14:20
Felix Eigenbrod Spatial/temporal scaling
EBDW03 7th September 2020
14:20 to 14:40
Paula Harrison Coupling models to represent interactions within landscape systems
This talk will summarise discussions from the Work Programme on ‘Mathematical and Statistical Challenges in Landscape Decision Making’, which took place between 3 July to 2 August 2019, focusing on coupling models to represent interactions within landscape systems. Many studies of landscape decisions are based on models of individual sectors, such as agriculture, forestry and water use, without considering interactions between these sectors. Yet, many drivers (be they climate change, policies or other) may lead to altered interactions between sectors and scales. Coupling models across sectors and scales enables interactions, trade-offs and synergies between different components of landscape systems to be captured in a systemic manner. This is important because modelling assessments that do not account for cross-sectoral or cross-scale interactions have the potential to misrepresent impacts and thus, the need or otherwise for adaptive action through landscape decision-making. Hence, this topic was discussed in detail during the 2019 INI Programme. Research priorities were divided into four themes: (i) transparency, reproducibility and communication in coupled models; (ii) model coupling toolbox; (iii) model coupling technicalities; and (iv) taking advantage of the benefits of model coupling. The key insights that emerged in these four themes were captured within short, medium and longer term research roadmaps.




EBDW03 8th September 2020
09:30 to 11:00
Session 2: Stakeholder Perspectives - CHAIR Paula Harrison
EBDW03 8th September 2020
09:30 to 09:55
James Skates Stakeholder talk
EBDW03 8th September 2020
09:55 to 10:20
Pam Berry, Daniel McGonigle Stakeholder talk
EBDW03 8th September 2020
10:20 to 10:45
Sue Pritchard In the big debates about land use, whose voices count?
The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) has already engaged in innovative new approaches to engage citizens around the UK in the big questions about countryside, environment, climate, nature and land use. Yet it remains difficult to get diverse perspectives into research and debate. Learning from FFCC’s experiences, Sue will use her talk to explore different strategies for democratic decision making around land use in the UK.  




EBDW03 8th September 2020
10:45 to 11:00
Heiko Balzter 'Building back better landscapes' - UK landscape decision making after Covid-19
The Landscape Decisions Programme aims to integrate social, ecological and mathematical sciences into landscape decision frameworks. It was initiated before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everybody’s lives. But how has Covid-19 changed the demand structure on UK landscapes and how we ought to adapt our decision making? This talk seeks to illuminate some of the issues emerging from the current discussion how to ‘Build Back Better’. Fundamental questions include the environmental impacts of the restrictions on movement and social distancing on landscapes, environmentally friendly pathways to economic recovery, the role of landscapes in achieving net zero carbon, air pollution in cities, disease transmission from wild animals to humans, the value of local recreational uses of landscapes to public health, social and economic inequalities, access to the countryside, changing cultural perceptions of landscapes and issues of equality and diversity. In this context it is important to understand the political, cultural and land ownership contexts in which landscape decisions in the UK are taken. A tension may arise when some ecosystem services such as air quality or flood retention benefit the wider population, but others benefit mainly the landowner or tenant. In this talk, I will reflect on how the Landscape Decisions Programme may be able to make a contribution to ‘building back better landscapes’ as we come out of the lockdown into a post-Covid world, and the contributions that social, ecological and mathematical sciences can make.




EBDW03 8th September 2020
13:30 to 13:50
Mark Brewer Drought risk analysis for forested landscapes: Project PRAFOR
This project aims to extend theory for probabilistic risk analysis of continuous systems, test its use against forest data, use process models to predict future risks, and develop decision-support tools.   Risk is commonly defined as the expectation value for loss. Most risk theory is developed for discrete hazards such as accidents, disasters and other forms of sudden system failure and not for systems where the hazard variable is always present and continuously varying, with matching continuous system response.   Risks from such continuous hazards (levels of water, pollutants) are not associated with sudden discrete events, but with extended periods of time during which the hazard variable exceeds a threshold. To manage such risks, we need to know whether we should aim to reduce the probability of hazard threshold exceedance or the vulnerability of the system.   In earlier work, we showed that there is only one possible definition of vulnerability that allows formal decomposition of risk as the product of hazard probability and system vulnerability. We have used this approach to analyse risks from summer droughts to the productivity of vegetation across Europe under current and future climatic conditions; this showed that climate change will likely lead to greatest drought risks in southern Europe, primarily because of increased hazard probability rather than significant changes in vulnerability.   We plan to improve on this earlier work by: adding exposure to hazard; quantifying uncertainties in our risk estimates for risk; relaxing assumptions via Bayesian hierarchical modelling; testing our approach on both observational data from forests in the U.K., Spain and Finland and on simulated data from process-based modelling of forest response to climate change; embedding the approach in Bayesian decision theory; and developing an interactive web application as a tool for preliminary exploration of risk and its components to support decision-making.  




EBDW03 8th September 2020
13:50 to 14:10
Richard Everitt Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and particle MCMC for calibrating computer models
This presentation will describe work conducted under two projects in the Landscape Decisions programme. We will outline the role we believe ABC and particle MCMC can play in calibrating landscape models, describe the current state of software being developed to allow other researchers to easily use these methods, and introduce a new technique called "rare event ABC-SMC^2" for using ABC with high-dimensional data.




EBDW03 8th September 2020
14:10 to 14:30
David Large Developing a statistical methodology for the assessment and management of peatlands
In good condition, peatlands are the most efficient carbon store of all soils.  The UK has 2 Mha of peatlands (10% land area). 80% of these peatlands are damaged to some degree and estimated to emit 10 Mt C a-1, a similar magnitude to oil refineries or landfill sites.  Restoring degraded peatlands to halt carbon losses is an essential part of a global strategy to fight climate change. In the UK, £100s millions of public money have been pledged to restore peatland, yet we do not have a reliable and cost-effective way to direct and evaluate investment in restoration over large and often remote areas.   In a previous research project, we showed that peatland condition can be found from satellite data that measures surface motion of the peat. However, our satellite-based approach produces too much complex data that cannot be reliably and consistently analysed by eye.   To address this, we will develop a new statistical method that can robustly and consistently quantify the changes in the peatland landscape from the satellite data. This requires methods capable of handling extremely large and complex structured datasets. In statistics, a new framework, known as Object-Oriented Data Analysis (OODA), is ideally suited to achieve this purpose by building models based on suitable choices of data objects. OODA can be used for developing parsimonious models for detecting change, and for quantifying uncertainty in predictions. OODA of the satellite data as functions of space and time will enable the modelling of trends and variability in the different regions, and the detection of change in the peatland.   The result will be a series of maps that illustrate the change in peatland landscape over time that are designed to be used by land managers and policy makers to guide decision making, help reduce unnecessary spending and evaluate investment.  




EBDW03 8th September 2020
14:30 to 14:50
Eleni Matechou Integrating new statistical frameworks into eDNA survey and analysis at the landscape scale
DNA-based surveys are increasingly being employed for monitoring wildlife species, while at the same time, new statistical methods are being developed for modelling species records. In this talk I will describe the rationale and idea behind our project, which aims to realise the huge potential contribution of DNA-based data to decision-making at the landscape level.




EBDW03 8th September 2020
16:00 to 17:30
Workshop Quiz
EBDW03 9th September 2020
09:30 to 10:30
Session 5: State-of-the-art Environmental modelling - CHAIR Paula Harrison
EBDW03 9th September 2020
09:30 to 10:00
Mark Rounsevell An overview of land system modelling
Land system modelling is primarily focused on the question: how do land managers make decisions about the use of land resources. There is a long history of land system modelling stretching back to classical economists in the early 19th Century. Early concepts focused strongly on economic (land rent) models to explain land use distributions, but these began to also include the notion of relative location (e.g. distance to markets) in determining land use patterns. Much of the initial thinking from this time is still relevant today and shapes, to some extent, current thinking about how to model the decision-making processes of land users. However, as land use models evolved through time, non-economic aspects began to take on increasing importance. Processes such as access to information and the spatial diffusion of knowledge through space and time were shown to be critical in understanding landscape decisions. This has led to an evolution in land system modelling towards a focus on agency and social interaction in addition to economic aspects. Methods such as Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) are now able to accommodate a range of human behaviours that underpin decision making and the social interaction processes that foster knowledge exchange through cooperation or competition. In this talk I provide an overview of the evolution of land system modelling exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the many extant approaches. I also explore the considerable progress that is still needed to develop land system models further, e.g. better representing human decision-making processes, better testing against data, coupling land system models with other components of the broader environment, and endogenizing the policy making process within models.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
10:00 to 10:30
Brett Day Simulation of UK land-use policy using integrated environment-economy models
By and large, exploration of land use change using integrated environment-economy models has tended to focus on the analysis of scenarios or on the exploration of locations where land use change might deliver desired outcomes. Of course, determining where best to change land use and actually achieving that change using the policy levers open to decision-makers are two different things. In this talk we present methods and results from a series of on-going projects, that use integrated environment-economy models to examine the question of 'best' policy design. Methodologically the key innovations of the research revolve around the application of mathematical programming to identify 'best' policies, the use of agent-based modelling to examine outcomes for policies that place land owners in situations of strategic interaction and the application of methods of robust optimisation to examine decision-making under uncertainty. Our applications focus on land use change, particularly those relating to the deintensification of agriculture for multiple environmental gains and the expansion of biocrops and forest to achieve carbon reduction targets.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
11:00 to 12:00
Session 4a: State-of-the-art in quantitative social modelling - CHAIR Viktoria Spaiser
EBDW03 9th September 2020
11:00 to 11:30
Gary Polhill Social simulation modelling within landscape systems
Agent-based social simulation entails the explicit, individual representation of various actors within the landscape, and the ways they affect each other. It offers a natural and powerful way to model human social systems and integrate with spatially-explicit biophysical and ecological models. In this talk, I will present an example from my own work with Alessandro Gimona and Nick Gotts (The James Hutton Institute) and Andrew Jarvis (Lancaster Environment Centre) on simulating the incentivization of biodiversity in agriculture. The talk will briefly cover some of the risks associated with coupling models to simulate landscape systems, emphasizing the importance of semantic interoperability.
EBDW03 9th September 2020
11:30 to 12:00
Marc Keuschnigg Analytical Sociology and Computational Social Science
Analytical sociology focuses on social interactions among individuals and the hard-to-predict aggregate outcomes they bring about. It seeks to identify generalizable mechanisms giving rise to emergent properties of social systems which, in turn, feed back on individual decision-making. This research program benefits from computational tools such as agent-based simulations, natural language processing, and large-scale web experiments, and has considerable overlap with the nascent field of computational social science. By providing relevant analytical tools to rigorously address sociology’s core questions, computational social science has the potential to considerably advance sociology. The disciplinary relationship, however, is not a one-way street, and this talk outlines how analytical sociology, with its theory-grounded approach to computational social science, can help to move the field forward from mere descriptions and predictions to the explanation of social phenomena.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
13:30 to 16:00
Session 4b: State-of-the-art in quantitative social modelling - CHAIR Felix Eigenbrod
EBDW03 9th September 2020
13:30 to 14:00
Alexis Comber Key Considerations for integrating Quantitative Social Science within Landscape Decisions
The land resource is used to satisfy many different land -related objectives: food production and security, biodiversity, housing and other developments, leisure and recreation, as well as flood protection, biomass, energy production and waste. Landscape Decisions are fundamentally concerned determining what to put where and have to balance competing demands for these different Ecosystem Services. This allocation problem is further complicated by a number of specifically social factors: - Different actors in landscape decision making (from policy to landowners to citizen ‘consumers’) have different objectives and priorities and value landscape elements in different ways - These values vary between and within groups, as well as with socio-economic context - Individual and institutional objectives also operate over different time frames and spatial scales Thus some form of socio-economic analysis or social modelling is integral to landscape decisions to - incorporate stakeholder preferences (e.g. the relative value of any given ESs) - model land management behaviours (e.g. risk seekers, consolidators, market reactors, etc) - evaluate the socio-economic impacts of landscape decisions (e.g. to quantify the trade-offs between food production and flood risk mitigation) This talk will outline and illustrate the impacts of a number of key but frequently overlooked issues associated with incorporating *any spatial data* (including data describing social processes) into landscape decision models, related to scale, scales of decision making and model evaluation.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
14:00 to 14:30
Suzy Moat Quantifying beautiful places and their link to health and happiness
Are beautiful environments good for our health and happiness? In this talk, I will describe how millions of ratings from an online game called ‘Scenic-or-Not’ and a mobile app called ‘Mappiness’ have begun to offer new answers to this age-old question. I will explain how deep learning can help us understand whether beautiful places are simply natural places - or whether humans might be able to build beautiful places too.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
15:00 to 15:30
Milena Tsvetkova Studying complex social systems with online games
Controlled experiments with human subjects provide causal answers to questions that are otherwise difficult to address with observational methods. Specifically, laboratory experiments have been crucial for improving our understanding of individual behavior. Nowadays, online experiments allow us to scale up and also study collective behavior, group-level phenomena, and complex-system dynamics such as positive feedback loops, tipping points, path dependency, and self-organization. To demonstrate the potential of this method, I will present a project that uses an online game to study how differently endowed individuals who interact with each other can produce fair outcomes. We juxtapose fairness mechanisms that individuals employ – generosity, reciprocity, and inequity aversion – with competing concepts of societal fairness – meritocracy, equality of opportunity, equality of outcomes, and Rawls’ theory of justice. The work illuminates which interventions will work better for a specific desired outcome in a company, organization, school, or community. The game and method can be adapted to study topics as diverse as urban segregation, rural development, and immigrant integration.




EBDW03 9th September 2020
15:30 to 16:00
Jakub Bijak The tale of the three landscapes: Connecting the layers through modelling
Landscape can be conceptualised through a range of interacting layers, corresponding to different aspects and features that vary across space. In this talk, we focus on three such layers: physical, human and information. By using an example of an agent-based model of migration route formation, we show how the interactions between these three layers can be modelled and analysed. We also demonstrate how the tools of uncertainty quantification can shed light on the properties and behaviour of the models and systems they represent. We conclude by reflecting on the perspectives of model-based approaches for connecting the various layers of the landscape in a coherent way, drawing from the experience of different disciplines of science




EBDW03 10th September 2020
09:30 to 15:15
Session 6: Integrating social, mathematical and enviro-ecological modelling - Group Discussions
EBDW03 10th September 2020
09:30 to 09:45
Paula Harrison, Felix Eigenbrod Introduction
EBDW03 10th September 2020
09:45 to 12:00
Formation of breakout groups & initial discussions
Breakout Room Topics:
-The role of uncertainty in decision-making
-The role of spatial-temporal dynamics in landscape decision-making   
-The role of complexities and non-linearities in landscape decision-making-The role of human processes in landscape decision-making   
-The role of social influence in landscape decision-making processes   
- Interdisciplinary integration across the social, mathematical and environmental sciences to improve the scientific evidence base supporting landscape decision-making.



EBDW03 10th September 2020
13:30 to 14:30
Reporting back from breakout groups on gaps and priorities for future research
EBDW03 10th September 2020
14:30 to 14:45
Viktoria Spaiser Summary of workshop aims
EBDW03 10th September 2020
14:45 to 15:15
Peter Challenor, Paula Harrison, Felix Eigenbrod, Viktoria Spaiser Panel discussion – Key steps towards interdisciplinary integration across the social, mathematical and environmental sciences to improve the scientific evidence base supporting landscape decision-making.
University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons