|Hauhs, M; Lange, H: The modeling approach in ecosystem research and management in Horton Graham: 18th European Simulation Multiconference, SCS, 276-282 (2004)|
The process of model building in the environmental sciences and when dealing with ecosystems is discussed. Two types of modeling approaches need to be distinguished: An algorithmic one, which has been used traditionally in physics, meteorology, and other branches where biological degrees of freedom are either absent or neglectable; and an interactive one, which is a new framework in computer science and seems to be most suitable in cases where organisms (including humans) as agents in ecosystems are to be taken into account. The first modeling approach is exemplified by state models in dynamic systems theory and expresses the correspondence imposed by laws of nature between inferential entailment in a formal system and causal entailment in natural systems. Modeling is to be separated from simulation. Simulation is a less restrictive type of modeling in which the description of non-interactive behaviour is the purpose and no constraints on the correspondence to internal states are imposed. The second (new) modeling approach is exemplified by interactive simulation models. It is able to express the correspondence in behaviour imposed by engineering standards (or cultural norms in general) between documentation, training and application in interactive choice situations such as games or ecosystem management. It generalises the notion of simulation for interactive problems. In an idealised situation the strictest correspondence between behaviour in a natural and a virtual system is expressed as bisimulation. The principles for model building are shortly demonstrated with examples.