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I have a dumb question - can you explain you created the map above? What is the data collection process? What software? Does it all have to be done with fancy software or there local tech methods?

Angus Parker

The biodiversity conservation community has been working with 'concept models' (something similar to your mental model) which have a lot of applicability more generally. Here is an example:

The elements are pretty simple, if the process to get there is not:

# Systems: Identifying the species, native communities and ecosystems that will be the focus of observation in an area.
# Stresses: Determining how our systems (conservation targets) are threatened, such as by habitat reduction or fragmentation, changes in natural flow patterns of waterways, or changes in the number of species in a forest, grassland or coral reef.
# Sources: Identifying and ranking the causes of the stresses.
# Strategies: Finding practical ways to reduce or eliminate threats through acquisition of interests in land and water, adaptive management or restoration of lands and waters, public policies based upon sound science, and promotion of compatible human uses.
# Success: Assessing our progress in reducing threats and improving the biodiversity and ecological health of a conservation area.

Systems, Stresses and Sources can be given boxes and linked visually with strategies as the intervention points. The conservation community has even come together on common standards and created software to help make better planning decisions - see Miradi ( The key is to get stakeholders all sharing their ideas and coming to a common understanding - which is a lot easier to do with 'concept models'.


Thanks for this thoughtful comment - Angus - know about this event?


I signed up to go .. B

Rachel Happe

Love that you are bringing this up Beth - that mapping looks like a systems'dynamics map from a modeling tool called Vensim which is a excellent way to model behaviors in a complex system and then to change some assumptions about behavior and triggers to see what effect those changes would have on the whole. i.e. if I could increase the number of children who have access to fresh water by 1%, what would that do to illness and death rates overall? Excellent tool if you want to really dig in to systems modeling.

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