Large-scale offshore sand extraction: What could be the results of interaction between model and decision process?

B.G.T.M. Peters, Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Netherlands is considering large-scale offshore sand extraction to meet the increasing demand for building sand, as the current supply of sand from land is insufficient. To develop a well-considered management policy to address this problem, knowledge about future morphological changes offshore caused by such an extraction is necessary. Such knowledge is not yet available. To support decisions about large-scale sand extraction, we developed a morphological model, which indicates possible effects of such extraction. However, because no field data is available, we cannot meet the requirement of decision makers to validate this model. Therefore, its results are controversial and difficult to use in decision-making. In this study, firstly we evaluate whether validation of the model would help the decision-making process about large-scale sand extraction? Secondly, we explore how we can use the invalidated model results in decision-making. And finally, we explore how to improve both the model and the use of the model without validation. Our opinion is that validation of the model will not solve the problem that decision makers deal with, and that although invalidated, decision makers can use the model results by using them as early warning signals. Interviews with the key players, to define the willingness to use the model results for decision-making, lead to useful recommendations to improve the model. These interviews were the first step of constructive technology assessment (CTA), which focuses on broadening the design and implementation process to stimulate the integration of societal criteria in the development of the model. Besides, these interviews appeared to have a positive influence on the willingness of the key players to use the model for decision-making. In general, we conclude that CTA, modulating the interaction between model and decision process, is a useful method for model makers that can help to make their models useful tools for decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-187
JournalOcean & coastal management
Issue number2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • IR-55371
  • METIS-230832


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