Abstract for: A knowledge intervention to explore stakeholders’ understanding of a dynamic coastal nature reserve

As quantitative modelling can be used to build stakeholder understanding for management decisions, and can help build consensus (Stave, 2003), a system dynamics modelling study of the abiotic dynamics of an archetypical small estuary, the Slufter in the Netherlands is formulated. The model is used in combination with an analysis of stakeholders’ values, their perceptions and the multi-functional utility of the Slufter in the design and application of a participatory approach aimed at enhancing the (collaborative) long-term decision-making on the inherently dynamic, coastal nature reserve. In particular, the utility of the information derived both from the model and the interviews with stakeholders for enhancing the system understanding amongst stakeholders indicates that a shared understanding of the social-ecological functioning of the Slufter estuary can be enhanced by integrating a stakeholder-based approach with problem modelling. Although stakeholders’ opinions changed less than expected, we believe that such an integrated approach can contribute to increased effectiveness of problem modelling in multi-actor systems.