A hands-on approach to environmental decisions

Tonini and colleagues at a simulation

March 28, 2017

When making management decisions about complex environmental issues, it’s wise to give stakeholders with different points of view a seat at the table – preferably a landscape-shaped table with a computer-generated surface that participants can control with hand motions to get immediate feedback about possible solutions.

That’s the conclusion of university researchers -- including CSIS's Francesco Tonini -- who tested an open-Francesco Tonini source modeling tool called Tangible Landscape in role-playing scenarios for managing sudden oak death, an invasive plant disease that’s spreading in California. The findings appear in Environmental Modelling and Software.

Read the full story in the North Carolina State University blog.

“In a world where human and natural systems are increasingly intertwined, it becomes crucial to develop and use decision support tools that facilitate the communication and collaboration between scientists and decision makers," said Tonini, an outreach specialist. "One of our main research focus here at CSIS is to study how policy decisions and management interventions might change the natural environment and affect the local population.

"This application of Tanglible Landscape shows a potential path forward where stakeholders with competing aims can test alternative “what-if” disease management scenarios and optimize the allocation of both human and economic resources on the ground to slow down the depletion of important forest resources.”

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