Extending agent-based land-use/-cover change models to tropical deforestation: a focus on farm-based decision making in tropical subsistence farming

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Subsistence agriculture continues to be the mainstay activity in most tropical regions, and opinions on how it impacts tropical deforestation vary significantly. The sparse literature available on subsistence farm-based models highlights the existing methodological gap in the ability of present-day agent-based models (ABMs) to simulate the impact of subsistence production on frontier tropical deforestation. Though issues concerning agent specification and its variability have been successfully dealt with, gaps exist in the explicit incorporation and articulation of linkages of subsistence production and consumption theories on the one hand and frontier tropical deforestation on the other hand. This demands explicit determination of the decision-making process and the objective functions for subsistence farmers. Once simulated, the trajectories of deforestation and its trigger mechanisms can be understood. Overall, farm-based ABMs have the potential to allow insightful understanding of the small and slow individual homogeneous subsistence practices that have resulted in massive deforestation in the tropics.

Keywords: GeoComputation; agent-based modeling; farm-based decision making; subsistence farming; tropical deforestation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13658816.2012.661057

Affiliations: Division of Spatial Information Science, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences,University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba,Ibaraki, Japan

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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