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Presenting models in scientific posters

by Felix

Communicating models and their results can be difficult, especially to people who do not model themselves. That is, at least, what different modelers write in their publications (Grimm et al. 2006, Lorscheid et al. 2012). Complicated model designs, numerous parameters, advanced statistical methods, and non-linear relationships can indeed be very hard to explain, because once you start to explain one aspect, you usually have to explain a lot of other things as well.

But as modelers we always try to find the right balance between abstraction, target group orientation and exactness. That is what I did at this year’s HIGRADE Conference at UFZ Leipzig with my poster entitled “More vulnerability through drought insurance? Insights from a social-ecological simulation model” (see here).

We analyze the long-term effects of drought insurance on livestock numbers and pasture conditions. In a simulation model, we compare scenarios where every livestock farmer has insurance to the situation without insurance. The poster explains how drought insurance may, under certain circumstances, lead to long-term degradation. We conclude that, immediately after a drought, insurance maintains livestock numbers at higher levels. This inhibits necessary resting periods which allow pastures to recover. So, especially in fragile environments, the provision of insurance may cause adverse effects.

Luckily, the jury appreciated my design attempt and even honored it with the Best Poster Award.

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