NEA Scenarios

This website is a technical 'playground' for exploring and testing how Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) modelling and web services can be used to facilitate scenario thinking for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on (NEAFO). It is one of the outputs from Work Package 7 of NEAFO, which has been designed to develop and better understand how the NEA scenarios can be used in decision making.

The work is being undertaken by staff at the Centre of Environmental Management, in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham, in partnership with HUGIN, who are members of the WP7 team.

In this initial phase of the work we have looked at developing a modelling framework that can be used to better understand cultural ecosystem services (CES), and how we might project this understanding into the future. BBNs are now being used more widely in the field of ecosystem services, and this work has been designed to find ways of refining these methods so that they can be used in a decision support role. In developing our ideas, we have worked closely the NEAFO Team who are looking at CES (WP5).

Part I: Developing a BBN for modelling cultural ecosystem services

You can access the first prototype model, calibrated using natural England's Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) data by, following this link: Basic MENE BBN

The model is based on more than 50,000 records from the MENE dataset covering the years 2009-12. The aim of this prototype is to illustrate how a BBN can be deployed on a web site allowing so that the user to enter and propagate evidence and have the results of the belief update displayed using belief bars.

This prototype will allow people to explore the patterns in the current MENE data, and think a about how future socio-demographic conditions might affect the use of the natural environment. This is where the work will link to the NEA scenarios.

Part II: Deployment of BBN and GIS

You can access the first prototype mapping application for cultural ecosystem services by following this link: Basic MENE GIS

This prototype uses the model from Part 1, but this time allows users to select a local authority district in England and, depending on its socio-economic characteristics, use the model to predict what the pattern of demand for cultural ecosystem services might be, if the population behaved like the group surveyed by MENE.

The idea of the example is to explore how a simple interface can be created where a user can select among a number of cases and have the system access a database, perform a belief update in a Bayesian network using data from the database and user entered values, and finally show the results on the web-site.

A novel aspect of this work is the link with spatial mapping. Use of BBN is association with GIS on is likely to become an important field of research and application in the field of ecosystem services. Thus this prototype is experimental and very much at the frontier of current technical and research capabilities.