Land use change on household farms in the Ecuadorian Amazon: Design and implementation of an agent-based model

Carlos F. Mena, Stephen J. Walsh, Brian G. Frizzelle, Yao Xiaozheng, George P. Malanson

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

67 Citas (Scopus)


This paper describes the design and implementation of an Agent-Based Model (ABM) used to simulate land use change on household farms in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon (NEA). The ABM simulates decision-making processes at the household level that is examined through a longitudinal, socio-economic and demographic survey that was conducted in 1990 and 1999. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to establish spatial relationships between farms and their environment, while classified Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery is used to set initial land-use/land-cover conditions for the spatial simulation, assess from-to land-use/land-cover change patterns, and describe trajectories of land use change at the farm and landscape levels. Results from prior studies in the NEA provide insights into the key social and ecological variables, describe human behavioral functions, and examine population-environment interactions that are linked to deforestation and agricultural extensification, population migration, and demographic change. Within the architecture of the model, agents are classified as active or passive. The model comprises four modules, i.e., initialization, demography, agriculture, and migration that operate individually, but are linked through key household processes. The main outputs of the model include a spatially-explicit representation of the land use/land cover on survey and non-survey farms and at the landscape level for each annual time-step, as well as simulated socio-economic and demographic characteristics of households and communities. The work describes the design and implementation of the model and how population-environment interactions can be addressed in a frontier setting. The paper contributes to land change science by examining important pattern-process relations, advocating a spatial modeling approach that is capable of synthesizing fundamental relationships at the farm level, and links people and environment in complex ways.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)210-222
Número de páginas13
PublicaciónApplied Geography
EstadoPublicada - ene. 2011


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