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My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
An economic agent-based model of Coupled Housing and Land Markets (CHALMS) simulates the location choices, insurance purchasing decisions, and risk perceptions of coastal residents, and how coastal risks are capitalized (or not) into coastal housing and land markets.
Investigate spatial adaptive behaviors of narco-trafficking networks in response to various counterdrug interdiction strategies within the cocaine transit zone of Central America and associated maritime areas. Through the novel application of the ‘complex adaptive systems’ paradigm, we implement a potentially transformative coupled agent-based and interdiction optimization modeling approach to compellingly demonstrate: (a) how current efforts to disrupt narco-trafficking networks are in fact making them more widespread, resilient, and economically powerful; (b) the potential for alternative interdiction approaches to weaken and contain traffickers.