Ambiguity in social ecological system understanding: Advancing modelling of stakeholder perceptions of climate change adaptation in Kenya

Charlotte Esmeralda de Jong*, Kasper Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Climate change adaptation requires understanding of complex social ecological systems (SESs). One source of uncertainty in complex SESs is ambiguity, defined as the range and variety of existing perceptions in and of an SES, which are considered equally valid, resulting in a lack of a unique or single system understanding. Current modelling practices that acknowledge the presence of ambiguity in SESs focus on finding consensus with stakeholders; however, advanced methods for explicitly representing and aggregating ambiguity in SESs are underdeveloped. Moreover, understanding the influences of ambiguity on SES representation is limited. This paper demonstrates the presence and range of ambiguities in endogenous and exogenous system drivers and internal relationships based on individual fuzzy cognitive maps derived from stakeholder perceptions of climate change adaptation in Kenya and introduces an ambiguity based modelling process. Our results indicate that acknowledging ambiguity fundamentally changes SES representation and more advanced methods are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105054
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Volume141
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Ambiguity
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Fuzzy cognitive maps
  • Participatory modelling
  • Social ecological systems

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