Computational Model Library

Displaying 10 of 10 results smallholder clear

This is an extension of the original RAGE model (Dressler et al. 2018), where we add learning capabilities to agents, specifically learning-by-doing and social learning (two processes central to adaptive (co-)management).

The extension module is applied to smallholder farmers’ decision-making - here, a pasture (patch) is the private property of the household (agent) placed on it and there is no movement of the households. Households observe the state of the pasture and their neighrbours to make decisions on how many livestock to place on their pasture every year. Three new behavioural types are created (which cannot be combined with the original ones): E-RO (baseline behaviour), E-LBD (learning-by-doing) and E-RO-SL1 (social learning). Similarly to the original model, these three types can be compared regarding long-term social-ecological performance. In addition, a global strategy switching option (corresponding to double-loop learning) allows users to study how behavioural strategies diffuse in a heterogeneous population of learning and non-learning agents.

An important modification of the original model is that extension agents are heterogeneous in how they deal with uncertainty. This is represented by an agent property, called the r-parameter (household-risk-att in the code). The r-parameter is catch-all for various factors that form an agent’s disposition to act in a certain way, such as: uncertainty in the sensing (partial observability of the resource system), noise in the information received, or an inherent characteristic of the agent, for instance, their risk attitude.


Meike Will Jürgen Groeneveld Karin Frank Birgit Müller Friederike Lenel | Published Monday, July 20, 2020 | Last modified Monday, May 03, 2021

The fight against poverty is an urgent global challenge. Microinsurance is promoted as a valuable instrument for buffering income losses due to health or climate-related risks of low-income households in developing countries. However, apart from direct positive effects they can have unintended side effects when insured households lower their contribution to traditional arrangements where risk is shared through private monetary support.

RiskNetABM is an agent-based model that captures dynamics between income losses, insurance payments and informal risk-sharing. The model explicitly includes decisions about informal transfers. It can be used to assess the impact of insurance products and informal risk-sharing arrangements on the resilience of smallholders. Specifically, it allows to analyze whether and how economic needs (i.e. level of living costs) and characteristics of extreme events (i.e. frequency, intensity and type of shock) influence the ability of insurance and informal risk-sharing to buffer income shocks. Two types of behavior with regard to private monetary transfers are explicitly distinguished: (1) all households provide transfers whenever they can afford it and (2) insured households do not show solidarity with their uninsured peers.

The model is stylized and is not used to analyze a particular case study, but represents conditions from several regions with different risk contexts where informal risk-sharing networks between smallholder farmers are prevalent.

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.

The agent-based model WEEM (Woodlot Establishment and Expansion Model) as described in the journal article, has been designed to make use of household socio-demographics (household status, birth, and death events of households), to better understand the temporal dynamics of woodlot in the buffer zones of Budongo protected forest reserve, Masindi district, Uganda. The results contribute to a mechanistic understanding of what determines the current gap between intention and actual behavior in forest land restoration at farm level.

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 SMASH model is an agent-based model of rural smallholder households. It models households’ evolving income and wealth, which they earn through crop sales. Wealth is carried in the form of livestock, which are grazed on an external rangeland (exogenous) and can be bought/sold as investment/coping mechanisms. The model includes a stylized representation of soil nutrient dynamics, modeling the inflows and outflows of organic and inorganic nitrogen from each household’s field.

The model has been applied to assess the resilience-enhancing effects of two different farm-level adaptation strategies: legume cover cropping and crop insurance. These two strategies interact with the model through different mechanims - legume cover cropping through ecological mechanisms and crop insurance through financial mechanisms. The model can be used to investigate the short- and long-term effects of these strategies, as well as how they may differently benefit different types of household.

This repository contains: (1) a model calibration procedure that identifies a set of diverse, plausible models; and (2) an ABM of smallholder agriculture, which is used as a case study application for the calibration method. By identifying a set of diverse models, the calibration method attends to the issue of “equifinality” prevalent in complex systems, which is a situation where multiple plausible process descriptions exist for a single outcome.

Amazon smallholder resilience

Yue Dou | Published Monday, September 09, 2019

The purpose of this agent-based model is to simulate the behaviors of small farming households in the Amazon estuary region and evaluate their resilience to external shocks with the presence of several government cash transfer programs.

Local soy value chains in northern Ghana

Tim Verwaart | Published Thursday, August 29, 2019

The purpose of the simulation is to evaluate alternative interventions by a value chain development program, aiming to improve rural livelihood and food and nutrition security. In northern Ghana, where distrust between the partners can be a problem in the functioning of value chains, the program supports the incorporation of smallholder farmers in soy clusters or agriculture APEX organization (farmers’ co-operatives) with a fair business environment. The goal is to to include the smallholder farmers in a strong value chain and reduce distrust.

Smallholder Behavioural Decisions During Times of Drought Stress

Samantha Dobbie | Published Sunday, September 15, 2013 | Last modified Saturday, September 27, 2014

An empirical ABM of smallholder decisions in times of drought stress.

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