QnD – Designing a Participatory Scenario Modeling Tool to Integrate Technology, Ecology, and Sociology in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve and Beyond

EPA Grant Number: SU833173
Title: QnD – Designing a Participatory Scenario Modeling Tool to Integrate Technology, Ecology, and Sociology in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve and Beyond
Investigators: Kiker, Gregory , Branch, Lyn , Dain, Jonathan , Kike, Clyde , Monroe, Martha
Current Investigators: Kiker, Gregory , Barnes, Grenville , Biedenweg, Kelly , Branch, Lyn , Dain, Jonathan , Monroe, Martha , Radachowsky, Jeremy , Southworth, Jane
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2006 through May 30, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Information Technology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Participatory scenario modeling – an interactive method for visualizing the future – is one of the most promising tools for achieving sustainable land use agreements amongst diverse stakeholder groups. The method has the potential to bridge the gap between the highly technical knowledge of scientists and the varied knowledge and values of non-scientists in order to create policies that respect livelihoods and maintain ecological integrity. However, most recent scenario model development has focused on the technical aspects of model building, often deemphasizing collaboration and participation.

We propose to develop and test a platform that fuses technology with lessons from many disparate disciplines in order to promote collaborative thinking, the creation of emergent ideas, and increased ownership and support for natural resource policies. In Phase I of this project, we will build upon an innovative, open-source, Java-based framework, the Questions and Decisions (QnD) model system, to design a beginning-to-end scenario modeling process that will be tested in one ideal study system: the Maya Biosphere Reserve of Guatemala. Subsequently, in Phase II, we will implement the process in Guatemala and evaluate its efficacy by testing whether the process: 1) increases the number of viable policy options; 2) improves the selection of the most economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable policy options; and 3) increases public support for selected policies.

This research will develop a new and innovative breed of scenario modeling tools that promotes sustainable policy creation in complex social-ecological systems. Although we will test the platform in Guatemala, its flexibility allows implementation anywhere in the developed or developing world. Through curricular and extracurricular research activities, formal and informal collaborations, and dissemination of results, this project will complement the educational programs of participating students and extend to a large international network of students, academics, and professionals.

Supplemental Keywords:

decision making, community-based, scenario, modeling, Central America, conservation, pollution prevention, public policy, socio-economic, preferences, land use,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, International, Social Science, sustainable development, Guatemala, biosphere, collaborative urban planning, pollution prevention, environmental education, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report