Use and Evaluation of FCM as a Tool for Long Term Socio Ecological Research

  • Martin WildenbergEmail author
  • Michael Bachhofer
  • Kirsten G. Q. Isak
  • Flemming Skov
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 54)


A halt in loss of biodiversity is an important issue in conservation management across Europe. As landscapes tend to be perceived as a combination of natural and social elements, and people’s values and attitudes, research supporting conservation management is dealing with landscapes as socio-ecological systems. As part of ALTER-Net, we applied FCM to five cases and subsequently evaluated the approach by means of a SWOT framework. This examined the strengths and weaknesses of, and the opportunities and threats to FCM when applied as a tool in conservation management.


long term social ecological research Social ecological systems Fuzzy cognitive mapping participative modeling Conservation landscape 



The Authors want to thank ALTER-Net for funding the work on FCM and providing the network necessary to conduct this research. We would like to thank Riku Varjopuro, Finnish Environmental Institute, Finland and Ricardo Diaz-Delgado, Do\(\tilde{\mathrm{n}}\)ana Biological Station, Spain for providing information on their FCM case studies and sharing their experiences, and the participants of the Alter-Net FCM workshop, organised by NERI in Denmark, for their inputs and discussions. Furthermore, we would like to thank all the participants who took part in the FCM sessions for interesting input and perspectives

Supplementary material (2.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (zip 2,522 KB)


  1. 1.
    Cooke, B., Kothari, U., (eds).: Participation. The new tyranny? Zed Books, London (2001)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Epstein, J. M.: Why Model?. J. Artif. Soc. Soc. Simul. 11(4), 12 (2008)
  3. 3.
    Fischer-Kowalski, M., Weisz, H.: Society as hybrid between material and symbolic realms. toward a theoretical framework of society-nature interaction. Advances Hum. Ecol. 8, p215–251 (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Franklin, J.F.: Preserving biodiversity: species, ecosystems, or landscapes? Ecol. Appl. 3(2), 202–205 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Furman, E., Taru P., Riku V., (eds).: Interdisciplinary research framework for identifying research needs. Case: bioenergy-biodiversity interlinkages. The Finish Environment 17 | 2009. The Finish Environment Institute, Helsinki (2009)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gaube, V., Kaiser, C., Wildenberg, M., Adensam, H., Fleissner, P., Kobler, J., Lutz, J., Schaumberger, A., Schaumberger, J., Smetschka, B., Wolf, A., Richter, A., Haberl, H., Combining agent-based and stock-flow modelling approaches in a participative analysis of the integrated land system in Reichraming, Landscape Ecology, Austria. (2009a)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gaube, V., Wildenberg, M., Vadineanu, A., Diaz, R., Peterseil, J., Haberl, H., An integrated modelling approach to integrate socioeconomic dynamics with ecosystem processes and biodiversity in Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER). Alter-Net final report (2009b)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Haberl, H., Gaube, V., Díaz-Delgado, R., Krauze, K., Neuner, A., Peterseil, J., Singh, S.J.,Vadineanu, A.: Towards an integrated model of socioeconomic biodiversity drivers, pressuresand impacts. A feasibility study based on three european long-term socio-ecological research platforms. Ecol. Econ. (2009) (In Press)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hansen-Møller, J.: Natursyns model: a conceptual framework and method for analysing and comparing views of nature. Landsc. Urban Plan. 89, 65–74 (2009)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hossain, M.S., Chowdhury, S.R., Das, N.G., Sharifuzzaman, S.M., Sultana, A.: Integration of GIS and multicriteria decision analysis for urban aquaculture development in Bangladesh. Landsc. Urban Plan. (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2008.10.020
  11. 11.
    Isak, K.G.Q.: Investigating fuzzy cognitive mapping as a participatory tool for conceptual landscape modelling. MSc Thesis in Landscape Management. Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Accessed 06 Feb 2009
  12. 12.
    Isak, K.G.Q., Wildenberg, M., Adamescu, C.M., Skov, F., De Blust, G.: Manual for applying Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping - experiences from ALTER-Net. Internal working paper. A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network. (2009) Further information and contacts available through the internet:<>
  13. 13.
    Kaner, S., Lind, L., Toldi, C., Fisk, S., Berger, D.: Facilitator’s guide to participatory decision-making. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island (1996)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kontogianni, A., Papageorgiou, E., Salomatina, L., Skourtos, M., Zanou, B.: Risks for the black sea marine environment as perceived by ukrainian stakeholders: a fuzzy cognitive mapping application. Ocean Coast. Manag. J. Elsevier. (2012a) doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.006 (IF=1.661)
  15. 15.
    Kontogianni, A., Papageorgiou, E.I. Tourkolias, C.: How do you perceive environmental change? fuzzy cognitive mapping informing stakeholder analysis for environmental policy making and non-market valuation in Appl. Soft Comput. (2012b) doi: 10.1016/j.asoc.2012.05.003 (in press, IF=2.64)
  16. 16.
    Kvale, S., Brinkmann, S.: Inter Views:Learning The Craft Of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Sage Publications Ltd, London (2008)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hassan, R., Scholes, R., Ash, N (eds.): Ecosystems and HumanWell-being: Current State and Trends, Vol. 1, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Island press, Washington (2004)
  18. 18.
    Müller, F., Baessler, C., Schubert, H., Klotz, S. (eds.): Long-Term Ecological Research: Theory and Application. Springer, Berlin (2010)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nordberg-Schultz, C.: Genius Loci. Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. Academy Edition, London, (1980) (SBN: 85670 700 7)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Özesmi, U., Özesmi, S.: A participatory approach to ecosystem conservation: Fuzzy cognitive maps and stakeholder group analysis in Uluabat Lake. Turkey. Environ.Manag. 31(4), 518–531 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Özesmi, U., Özesmi, S.L.: Ecological models based on people’s knowledge: a multi-step fuzzy cognitive mapping approach. Ecol. Model. 176(1–2), 43–64 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Papageorgiou E.I., Kontogianni, A.: Using fuzzy cognitive mapping in environmental decisionmaking andmanagement: amethodological primer and an application, In book: Environmental Change, InTech, open access publisher, (2012)
  23. 23.
    Papageorgiou E.I., Salmeron, J.L.: A review of fuzzy cognitive map research at the last decade, in IEEE Trans. Fuzzy Syst. (IEEE TFS), 211 (2013) (in press)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Reckien, D., Wildenberg, M., Bachhofer, M.l., Subjective realities of climate change: how mental maps of impacts deliver socially sensible adaptation options. Sustainability Science April 2013, 8(2), 159–172 (2013)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Redman, C.L., Grove, J.M., Kuby, L.H.: Integrating social science into the long-term-ecological-research (LTER) network: Social dimension of ecological change and ecological dimension of social change. Ecosyst. 7, 161–171 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stephenson, J.: The cultural valuemodel: an integrated approach to value in landscapes. Landsc. Urban Plan. 84, 127–139 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sterman, J.D.: All models are wrong: reflections on becoming a systems scientist. Syst. Dyn. Rev. 18(4), 501–531 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wallington, T.J., Hobbs, R.J., Moore, S.A.: Implications of current ecological thinking forbiodiversity conservation: a review of the salient issues. Ecol. Soc. 10(1), 15 (2005). Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Westley, F., Carpenter, S.R., Brock, W.A., Holling, C.S., Gunderson L.H.. Why systems ofpeople and nature are not just social and ecological systems. In Gunderson L.H., C.S. Holling (Eds.) Panarchy:Understanding Transformation in Human and Natural Systems. Island Press, Washington (2002)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wildenberg, M.: Die Modellierung sozial-ökologischer Systeme im Kontext der Nachhaltigkeitsforschung. Universität Klagenfurt, Dissertation (2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Wildenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Bachhofer
    • 2
  • Kirsten G. Q. Isak
    • 3
  • Flemming Skov
    • 4
  1. 1.Umweltforschungsinstitut, GLOBAL 2000ViennaAustria
  2. 2.FCMappers.netTokyoJapan
  3. 3.NIRASAarhusDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Wildlife Ecology and BiodiversityNational Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

Personalised recommendations