Effective environmental management requires an understanding of the interactions between policy choice and complex social, economic, technical and environmental processes. The predicted outcomes then need to be assessed with regard to feedbacks, side effects and, where possible, trade-offs among various, often conflicting, objectives. Integrated assessment models or tools systematically combine knowledge developed across a broad range of fields (such as economics, ecology, psychology and sociology, hydrology and agronomy) into a unified framework. They are useful in helping to analyse alternatives with stakeholders, quantitatively assess their outcomes, and communicate results.
Integration in the modelling process may refer to:
- integrated treatment of issues by examining the various parts of the system as a whole
- integration with stakeholders, which can vary from simple updates of research to community groups to large-scale inclusion of stakeholder views and knowledge at all stages in a project
- integration of disciplines, by considering two or more disciplinary views of a management problem and its associated system boundaries
- Integration of processes and models, which requires combining two or more models of different systems or processes in a system
- Integration of scales of consideration, as resource and environmental issues may often be considered at a variety of temporal and spatial scales, and components of a system may operate on different scales