Developing a conceptual model of an ecosystem or EBM project can help project participants come to a common understanding of and communicate about their ecosystem, threats to the ecosystem, and how potential management actions may change things. The development of conceptual models is a fairly well-established field, and there are a number of tools available to help in developing them.
Some recommended tools are:
Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint can be used to digitize simple conceptual models. These software packages have the advantage that many practitioners already have them and are familiar with them, but using them for developing a conceptual model could become frustrating if models become complex or need frequent adjustment.
Microsoft Visiois specifically designed for diagramming purposes such as digitizing conceptual models. It is not included in basic Microsoft Office suites, however, and therefore may need to be purchased ($200+).
On-line Conceptual Diagram Creatoris a free, on-line tool to support the creation of conceptual models using symbols from the IAN Symbol Library. The symbol library was designed with environmental communication in mind, so it contains many symbols relevant to coastal-marine EBM communication.
Miradiis software for managing conservation projects. Helping to develop conceptual models is just one of its many functions. Miradi differs from the Microsoft products in that it supports the process of developing a conceptual model as well as the digitizing of the model.
Some resources for learning more about creating conceptual models:
Last Updated: April 25, 2011, 12:57 pm