Different types of models


Most of the research on natural resources involves modelling and simulations. There can be several objectives: the model can be applied for control and prediction or understanding and comparing points of view. Research on common property often involves game theory in which individuals, behaviour, and interactions are represented. Economic management tools often rely on dynamic systems modelling to represent the flow of energy, information or money. Lastly, a regional approach uses GIS (geographical information systems) as its main modelling tool.

The scientific community aims to underline the interaction and integration (between scientific disciplines, scales, levels of integration, natural and social dynamics, and time intervals). The objective is to improve our understanding and actions.

This approach uses complexity sciences (Lewin, 1993; Gell-Mann, 1994). Several researchers use modelling methods developed for complexity sciences. This involves modelling the dynamics of interactions, such as multi-agent systems or cellular automata.

Institutes such as the World Resource Institute, the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, UNESCO, and IEE (International Institute for Ecological Economics) are developing tools to model the dynamics of interactions. In France, institutes such as CEMAGREF, INRA, IRD, and CNRS are also developing tools of this kind.


Gell-Mann M. 1994. The Quark and the Jaguar : Adventures in the Simple and the Complex. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York.

Lewin R. 1993. Complexity. Life at the Edge of Chaos. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York.

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