Abstract for: Causal Loop Diagrams for Facilitating Transdisciplinary Research in social-ecological systems

Natural resource management and nature based solutions are often viewed from a disciplinary lens rather than a whole systems lens by researchers and practitioners, thus limiting their effectiveness. Moreover, communities are expected to change their behaviours without a clear understanding of driving forces (mental models and systemic policy, economic drivers) behind collective behaviours. In order to facilitate fertilization of ideas across disciplines, open up discussions on existing mental models and provide a whole systems view of droughts, a qualitative Group Model Building exercise was carried out in Sinnar, Nashik. The objective of the project was to conserve the Devnadi river, a groundwater-fed river. The workshop was attended by parters - IIT-Bombay, Yuva Mitra, Arid Communities and Technology, Vanam Ecologics and TNC. I was facilitating this on behalf of TNC. The group consisted of local communities, implementing NGO, engineers, hydrogeologists, hydrologists and ecologists. The workshop broke disciplinary boundaries and the group worked on conserving the Devnadi river using a whole systems lens.