MultiTip - Tipping points in large lakes
MultiTip is a research project co-designed by a team of social scientists at the Universities of Heidelberg and Kassel and fishery biologists at fisheries research institutes around Lake Victoria that will augment existing local knowledge and data by providing empirical evidence on the nature and practical exploitability of stakeholders’ awareness and understanding of ecological tipping points for the sustainable management of an economically essential renewable resources.
The objective of MultiTip is to apply the conceptual and methodological toolbox of mental models and behavioural economics to stakeholders’ collective management of a freshwater fishery that is predicted to encounter a population collapse in the commercially most important species in the near future. This application builds on empirical evidence from cognate, but different contexts, such as climate change, forestry, and eutrophication. In these contexts, mental models have been found to be important drivers of stakeholders’ beliefs in the consequences of their actions and to co-determine observed behaviour.
MultiTip will provide evidence on how the mechanisms through which mental models and behavioural economics affect the presence, and shape of, collective action work in a freshwater fisheries setting. Furthermore, it will assess how leveraging these mechanisms through external intervention can contribute to stakeholders’ collective action to save the threatened ecosystems. MultiTip implements these objectives through a mixed-methods approach that combines qualitative and quantitative empirical work with controlled experimental work in order to advance a conceptual and analytical toolbox that can be applied to settings that share with Lake Victoria the common features of collective action, renewable common-pool resources, and an ecological tipping point related to resource extraction.
The MultiTip team
MultiTip consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers that has received seed money from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung) to develop three-year research project in close collaboration with stakeholders at the local, regional, and international level. If successfully funded, the research phase takes off in June 2018.