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The Land Use Competition in Drylands (LUCID) model is a stylized agent-based model of a smallholder farming system. Its main purpose is to illustrate how competition between pastoralism and crop cultivation can affect livelihoods of households, specifically their food security. In particular, the model analyzes whether the expansion of crop cultivation may contribute to a vicious circle where an increase in cultivated area leads to higher grazing pressure on the remaining pastureland, which in turn may cause forage shortages and livestock loss for households which are then forced to further expand their cultivated area in order to increase their food security. The model does not attempt to replicate a particular case study but to generate a general understanding of mechanisms and drivers of such vicious circles and to identify possible scenarios under which such circles may be prevented.
The model is inspired by observations of the Borana land use system in Southern Ethiopia. The climatic and ecological conditions of the Borana zone favor pastoralism, and traditionally livelihoods have been based mainly on livestock keeping. Recent years, however, have seen an advancement of crop cultivation as a coping strategy, e.g., to compensate the loss of livestock, even though crop yields are low on average and successful harvests are infrequent.
In the model, it is possible to evaluate patterns of individual (single household) as well as overall (across all households) consumption and food security, depending on a range of ecological, climatic and management parameters.
Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) threaten smallholder livelihoods globally. Despite more than a decade of research on the LSLA phenomenon, it remains a challenge to identify governance conditions that may foster beneficial outcomes for both smallholders and investors. One potentially promising strategy toward this end is contract farming (CF), which more directly involves smallholder households in commodity production than conditions of acquisition and displacement.
To improve understanding of how CF may mediate the outcomes of LSLAs, we developed an agent-based model of smallholder livelihoods, which we used as a virtual laboratory to experiment on a range of hypothetical LSLA and CF implementation scenarios.
The model represents a community of smallholder households in a mixed crop-livestock system. Each agent farms their own land and manages a herd of livestock. Agents can also engage in off-farm employment, for which they earn a fixed wage and compete for a limited number of jobs. The principal model outputs include measures of household food security (representing access to a single, staple food crop) and agricultural production (of a single, staple food crop).
The model simulates the national Campaign-Based Watershed Management program of Ethiopia. It includes three agents (farmers, Kebele/ village administrator, extension workers) and the physical environment that interact with each other. The physical environment is represented by patches (fields). Farmers make decisions on the locations of micro-watersheds to be developed, participation in campaign works to construct soil and water conservation structures, and maintenance of these structures. These decisions affect the physical environment or generate model outcomes. The model is developed to explore conditions that enhance outcomes of the program by analyzing the effect on the area of land covered and quality of soil and water conservation structures of (1) enhancing farmers awareness and motivation, (2) establishing and strengthening micro-watershed associations, (3) introducing alternative livelihood opportunities, and (4) enhancing the commitment of local government actors.
The purpose of the OMOLAND-CA is to investigate the adaptive capacity of rural households in the South Omo zone of Ethiopia with respect to variation in climate, socioeconomic factors, and land-use at the local level.
The model analyzes the economic and ecological effects of a provision of livestock drought insurance for dryland pastoralists. More precisely, it yields qualitative insights into how long-term herd and pasture dynamics change through insurance.