Modeling is a key component to sciences from mathematics to life science, including environmental and ecological studies. By looking at the underlying concepts of the software, we can make sure that we build mathematically feasible models and that we get the most out of the data and information that we have. This book shows how models can be analyzed using simple math and software to generate meaningful qualitative descriptions of system dynamics. This book shows that even without a full analytical, mathematically rigorous analysis of the equations, there may be ways to derive some qualitative understanding of the general behavior of a system. By relating some of the modeling approaches and systems theory to real-world examples the book illustrates how these approaches can help understand concepts such as sustainability, peak oil, adaptive management, optimal harvest and other practical applications.

Key Features

* Relates modeling approaches and systems theory to real-world examples * Teaches students to build mathematically feasible models and get the most out of the data and information available * Wide range of applications in hydrology, population dynamics, market cycles, sustainability theory, management, and more


Primary: researchers and students in ecological economics and environmental modeling; Secondary: researchers/students in natural resource management.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments 1 Models and Systems 1.1 Model 1.2 System 1.3 Hierarchy 1.4 The Modeling Process 1.5 Model Classifications 1.6 Systems Thinking 2 The Art of Modeling 2.1 Conceptual Model 2.2 Modeling Software 2.3 Model Formalization 3 Essential Math 3.1 Time 3.2 Space 3.3 Structure 3.4 Building Blocks 4 Model Analysis 4.1 Sensitivity Analysis 4.2 Model Calibration 4.3 Model Testing 4.4 Conclusions 5 Simple Model, Complex Behavior 5.1 Classic Predator–Prey Model 5.2 Modifications of The Classic Model 5.3 Trophic Chains 5.4 Spatial Model of a Predator–Prey System 5.5 Conclusions 6 Water 6.1 Modeling as a Hydrology Primer 6.2 Unit Model 6.3 Spatial Model 6.4 Conclusions 7 Adding Socio-Economics 7.1 Demographics 7.2 Dynamics on the Market 7.3 Corporate Rule 7.4 Sustainability 7.5 The End of Cheap Oil 7.6 The World 8 Optimization 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Resource Management 8.3 Fishpond 8.4 Landscape Optimization 8.5 Optimality Principles 9 The Practice of Modeling 9.1 Why Models Don’t Work 9.2 Participatory and Adaptive Modeling 9.3 Open-Source, Web Technologies and Decision Support 9.4 Conclusions To Conclude Index


No. of pages:
© 2008
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the author

Alexey A. Voinov

Affiliations and Expertise

Johns Hopkins University and Fellow at Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, USA 3