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Research project PartizipA

Participative Modelling, Actor and Ecosystem Analysis in Regions with Intensive Agriculture

During the German-Austrian co-operation project PartizipA (Participative Modelling, Actor and Ecosystem Analysis in Regions with Intensive Agriculture; 2003 - 2007), researchers from the Institute for Environmental Systems Research (University of Osnabrück) and the Department of Social Ecology in Vienna established participatory processes to develop scenarios to estimate the development of social, economic and ecological conditions within the Hase catchment in Northwest Germany and the St. Pölten region in Austria.

Both projects applied structured evaluation methods and models that were used to assess different development possibilities for the region. Taking the needs and interests of regional key stakeholders into consideration, the Austrian project part dealt with the regional consequences of the CAP in St. Pölten, while the German project part investigated the implementation processes of the WFD in the Hase catchment.

Moreover, participatory processes were conducted in both projects to firstly, generate models and scenarios. Secondly, the region’s future and the consequences of stakeholders’ decisions were openly discussed in an actors’ platform and in focus groups. Through this, learning processes regarding the potentials of the regional land use changes were triggered. The participatory processes aimed firstly at developing a shared understanding of the region's problems and challenges and secondly at developing desirable and probable scenarios, which were tested with regard to their plausibility in an iterative process leading to continuous optimisation. Important methods were land use simulations, which were realised in agent-based models, and various facilitation methods, such as the creation of drawn mental models and group model building processes.

PartizipA was funded by Funded by the Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) under the programme 'Socio-Ecological Research' (contract no. 07 VPS 10) and by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Austria).