Connecting micro and macro: bringing case-studies and model-based approaches together in analysing patterns of vulnerability to global environmental change


One of the major challenges in global change research is to achieve a meaningful interaction between system dynamic integrated assessment models analysing the earth system and global environmental change and social scientists studying its human dimensions. In integrated assessment models, human dimensions such as institutions, governance processes and political, cultural and religious variables cannot be readily integrated, if at all. At the same time there have been numerous studies by social scientist of the way in which people respond to changes in their environment, and how these changes are governed by society, that are not made part of integrated assessments of global environmental change. By now, it has become widely accepted that many of the socio-economic problems in the world can not be seen as separate from environmental problems and vice versa, and that global environmental change need to be studied in an integrated manner by looking at the human-environment system. This proposal aims to contribute to this by connecting micro and macro and bringing case-studies and model-based approaches together in analysing patterns of vulnerability to global environmental change. The objective of this project is therefore to build bridges between dynamic system models and qualitative case-studies by attempting to upscale lessons learned from local case-studies through Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and by down-scaling Integrated Assessment Models (IAMS) through cluster analysis of model outcomes. In this way a contribution can be made to the refinement of the IAMs and the better targeting of adaptation policies to global change.


Scientific article

  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Method for the analysis of archetypical patterns of vulnerablility. Regional Environmental Change
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Socio-ecological niches of soil and water conservation in western Africa. Ecology and Society
  • D. Sietz(2014): Regionalisation of global insights into dryland vulnerability; Better reflecting smallholders'vulnerability in Northeast Brazil. Global Environmental Change pp. 173 - 185
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Why farmers adopt soil and water conservation measures: Insights from a meta-analysis of local case studies in western Africa. Global Environmental Change
  • K. Neumann, et al(2014): What drives a human migration in Sahelian countries? A meta-analysis.
  • K. Neumann, et al(2014): Environmental drivers of human migration in drylands - A spatial picture. Applied Geography
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Socio-ecological conditions for food securty in African drylands: Quantitative and spatially explicit insights to facilitate the transfer of succesful strategies. Global Environmental Change
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Armed conflict distribution in global drylands through the lens of a typology of socio-ecological vulnerability. Regional Environmental Change pp. 1419 - 1435
  • H.B.M Hilderink, P Tittonell, M.T.J. Kok, H van Dijk, D Sietz, J.C. Ordo├▒ez(2017): Nested archetypes of vulnerability in African drylands Environmental Research Letters pp. 1 - 13 ISSN: 1748-9326.

Publications for the general public

  • D. Sietz(2012): Tools and methods to analyse vulnerability and adaption.
  • D. Sietz(2013): Sustainable Transformations of Society in the Face of Climate Change: Promising Research Directions.
  • K. Neumann, et al(2013): Socio-ecological niches for soil and water conservation to adapt smallholder agriculture to climate variability.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2013): Vulnerability and Climate Change Adaptation : some Challenges for Policy Making
  • D. Sietz, et al(2013): Identification of typical patterns of vulnerability; A 5-step approach based on cluster analysis.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Improving climate risk management to foster food security: Insights from a typology of smallholders'vulnerability in the Peruvian Andes.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Assessing the impact of extreme weather events on high-altitude potato farming systems: two case studies in the Peruvian Central Andes.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Vulnerability patters of farm household systems of the Andes to climates vulnerability: A case study of the Mantaro river basin, Peru.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Socio-ecological niches of soil and water conservation to foster agricultural land transformation in western Africa.
  • D. Sietz, et al(2014): Farmers' vulnerability in African drylands: A quantative and spatially-explicit typology based on clustering.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. ir. J.W.M. van Dijk

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden

Team members

Dr. K. Hermans, Dr. ir. J.C. Ordonez, Dr. D. Sietz


15/11/2010 to 17/10/2014