Sustainable Cultivation of Productive Environments

Project Name

Sustainable Cultivation of Productive Environments 





Project Collaborators

Prof. David Harvey, PI, NIReS, CRE, and AFRD, Newcastle
Prof. Les Firbank, Co-I, BBSRC, North Wyke (Head)
Prof. Nick Hanley, Co-I, Environmental Economics, Stirling
Dr. John Forrester, Co-I, Stockholm Environment Institute, York
Dr. Nicola Thompson, Co-I, CRE, Newcastle
Mr. Terry Carroll, Co-I, c/o CRE Newcastle, and NRN co-ordinator.
Dr. Elizabeth Stockdale, SAFRD, Newcastle.
Mr. Steven Hall, IT, SAFRD,Newcastle



Project Description


This project is looking at three questions:

  • How do we articulate and communicate whole system assessments and inherently uncertain predictions of the causes and effects of environmental change?
  • How do we reconcile conflicting interests with common necessity and purpose?
  • How do we encourage interdisciplinary working, stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange? 

Sophisticated and complex computer models of these systems have been built, but have had limited impact in answering the questions. Apart from the technical difficulties with such models, there are simply too many different interests and understandings about the systems to reflect all, or even a representative set of opinions and perceptions. 

So the models are either too simple, or irrelevant.  But the process of creating a model does tell us something about the environmental systems.

It ought to be possible to communicate our separate and different understandings about the ways in which these systems work without getting bogged down in technical detail or buried in sophisticated computer models. We believe we can identify the key systematic relationships between, for instance, land use, landscape appearance and environmental effects, and also identify the major differences of judgment and knowledge about the ways in which these key relationships work - what they mean for the management of the system. We will explore this approach with a number of stakeholders and practising landscape managers, focusing, in the first instance, on theNorthumberlandNational Park.

We expect to develop a set of mechanisms and procedures (a ‘scope’) to do this, with the primary purpose of helping articulate and communicate different perceptions and understandings of the major relationships and issues.  We will illustrate the use of the ‘scope’ to systematically and coherently identify and communicate future options and scenarios.