A participatory modelling approach to cognitive mapping of the socio-environmental system of sandy anthropogenic shores in the Netherlands

Elham Bakhshianlamouki*, P.W.M. Augustijn, Marcela F. Brugnach, Alexey Arkady Voinov, Kathelijne M. Wijnberg

*Corresponding author for this work

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Sandy Anthropogenic Shores (SAS) are coasts formed or heavily modified by moving large amounts of dredged sand from offshore towards the land. Subsequently, natural processes such as waves, wind, and currents are spreading the sand, where wind can transport sand into the foredune area and reinforce the foredune for long- term coastal safety. Besides improving safety, more expansive beaches and artificial lagoons, which may be part of a SAS design, provide new space for human activities and animal and plant habitats. The landscape of SAS is influenced by humans who manage and utilise the shore for various objectives, including flood safety, recreation, and ecological functions. Consequently, the sustainable management of multifunctional and multi-actor systems like SAS becomes challenging and requires an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to analyse the trade-offs between various socio-environmental functions. Although numerous studies of SAS have been conducted, they have had a sectoral, disciplinary approach and mainly focused on the natural aspects of SAS. In this study, we applied participatory modelling to explore the role of social systems (management activities and their interactions with natural systems) in SAS to broaden insight beyond natural systems and improve management and social acceptance of managerial decisions. We conducted several interviews and workshops with multiple stakeholders. We discussed different management aims and activities in SAS, the essential socio-environmental drivers of the managerial activities, their interactions, and the managerial indicators for analysing the various SAS functions. The elicited knowledge was structured in the form of a collective cognitive map (CCM) developed with stakeholders. We used the designed cognitive map for a qualitative assessment of the influence of some managerial decisions on trade-offs between the multiple functions of SAS. The developed CCM provides suitable ground to start the discussion with multiple stakeholders on the design of SAS as a new coastal management approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106739
JournalOcean & coastal management
Early online date13 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


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