When Models Meet Managers: Examples from Geomorphology

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Prediction in Geomorphology

Publication Date



models, managers, geomorphology


Geomorphic models are increasingly used to support public policy and natural resources management. We present five examples of the interaction between models and managers and consider factors that influence their success or failure. Essential elements include common objectives for management and models and clear communication of the assumptions, limitations, and uncertainty of models and their predictions. Where management and modeling objectives cannot be matched, it may be possible to define management actions that do not depend on exact predictions or to pursue alternatives to modeling such as monitoring or environmental history. In some cases, model predictions may be less important than the educational value of model construction and operation. An adaptive modeling process, in which the objectives, mechanisms, and tolerances of a model are adjusted interactively in an ongoing model-manager dialogue, may be useful, particularly when the policy context is contested or incompletely defined or when the social mandate is ahead of the science.

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