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Thesis Defence: Bears, Spirals, and Stakeholders; Agent-based Models and the Need for Stakeholder Involvement in their Development and Implementation
March 31, 2023 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Lucas Crevier, supervised by Dr. Lael Parrott, will defend their thesis titled “Bears, Spirals, and Stakeholders; Agent-based Models and the Need for Stakeholder Involvement in their Development and Implementation” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences.
An abstract for Lucas’s thesis is included below.
Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in-person defences.
For a model’s development and the associated time and monetary commitment to be warranted, its function and output must be accepted by policy makers and other stakeholders. It is challenging to develop computational models that are at the correct scale, resolution, and of sufficient quality such that policies based on model outputs and derived inferences are justifiable and acceptable to stakeholders. These modelling problems are particularly sensitive when pertaining to social-ecological systems, which can present complex and wicked problems that arise from the interplay between natural and anthropogenic systems. Wicked problems can be addressed using adaptive management practices that encourage iterative monitoring of and interventions in the system of interest. In the field of human-wildlife conflict management, modelling is often used in support of management decisions by simulating natural phenomena and animal behaviour. In this thesis, I describe the continued development of one such model that addresses the wicked problem of managing human-bear interactions: an agent-based model of black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Resort Municipality of Whistler. In the second part of the thesis, I explore the complementary nature of adaptive management and participatory modelling as a way to improve model acceptance and quality. To formalize this link I propose a framework that unites these two paradigms. In the context of this framework, I begin the groundwork for a new agent-based model that simulates grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) in the Bow Valley region in Alberta. Adaptive management, participatory modelling, and agent-based modelling overlap synergistically. Their integration can promote collaboration and the development of optimal solutions to complex social-ecological problems.