Modeling land use change from smallholder agricultural intensification
Agricultural expansion in the rural tropics brings much needed economic and social development in developing countries. On the other hand, agricultural development can result in the clearing of biologically-diverse and carbon-rich forests. To achieve both development and conservation objectives, many government policies and initiatives support agricultural intensification, especially in smallholdings, as a way to increase crop production without expanding farmlands. However, little is understood regarding how different smallholders might respond to such investments for yield intensification. It is also unclear what factors might influence a smallholder’s land-use decision making process. In this proposed research, I will use a bottom-up approach to evaluate whether investments in yield intensification for smallholder farmers would really translate to sustainable land use in Indonesia. I will do so by combining socioeconomic and GIS data in an agent-based model (Land-Use Dynamic Simulator multi-agent simulation model). The outputs of my research will provide decision makers with new and contextualized information to assist them in designing agricultural policies to suit varying socioeconomic, geographic and environmental contexts.
The Global Resource Observatory (GRO)
The Global Resource Observatory is largest single research project being undertaken at the GSI, it investigates how the scarcity of finite resources will impact global social and political fragility in the short term. The ambitious three year project, funded by the Dawe Charitable Trust, will enable short term decision making to account for ecological and financial constraints of a finite planet.
GRO will include an open source multidimensional model able to quantify the likely short term interactions of the human economy with the carrying capacity of the planet and key scarce resources. The model will enable exploration of the complex interconnections between the resource availability and human development, and provides projections over the next 5 years.
Data and scenarios will be geographically mapped to show the current and future balance and distribution of resources across and within countries. The GRO tool will, for the first time, enable the widespread integration of the implications of depleting key resource into all levels of policy and business decision-making.
Bashar Ourabi is a principle consultant at arabianconsult of Syria where he has been chairman since 2003. He holds Bsc. Eng., A Grad. Certificate in Project engineering from the University of Central Florida; and a MS. in Public Administration from the Doha Graduate Institute in Qatar.
Bashar completed his graduate studies at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and his undergraduate studies at the Unversity of Central Florida. His research interests lie in the area of systems modelling, ranging from theory to design to implementation. He has collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines of computer science, system design, and bigData Artificial Intellegence, particularly BigData Expert System and Automated decision Making.
He has served on many international posts overlooking public infrastructure design and operations, varying from public transport, urban design and operations management. These posts spanned over the the US and the Middle East including Florida, UAE and Qatar.
Bashar has served on many conferences and workshop program committees and has succesfully delivered many corporate training programs..
Web Based Decision Making and Expert Systems
Discret Event Simulation
Corporate Support Systems
Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.
How to model it: Ecological models, in particular simulation models, often seem to be formulated ad hoc and only poorly analysed. I am therefore interested in strategies and methods for making ecological modelling more coherent and efficient. The ultimate aim is to develop preditive models that provide mechanstic understanding of ecological systems and that are transparent and structurally realistic enough to support environmental decision making.
Pattern-oriented modelling: This is a general strategy of using multiple patterns observed in real systems as multiple criteria for chosing model structure, selecting among alternative submodels, and inversely determining entire sets of unknown model parameters.
Individual-based and agent-based modelling: For many, if not most, ecological questions individual-level aspects can be decisive for explaining system-level behavior. IBM/ABMs allow to represent individual heterogeneity, local interactions, and/or adaptive behaviour
Ecological theory and concepts: I am particularly interested in exploring stability properties like resilience and persistence.
Modelling for ecological applications: Pattern-oriented modelling allows to develop structurally realistic models, which can be used to support decision making and the management of biodiversity and natural resources. Currently, I am involved in the EU project CREAM, where a suite of population models is developed for pesticide risk assessment.
Standards for model communication and formulation: In 2006, we published a general protocol for describing individual- and agent-based models, called the ODD protocol (Overview, Design concepts, details). ODD turned out to be more useful (and needed) than we expected.
My general research interest is on modeling of complex natural and human systems systems. Specifically, I am interested in modeling agricultural production systems, that blends the complexity, multiplicity of scales and feedbacks of biophysical interactions in natural ecosystems with the additional intricacies of human decision-making. During last years I have coordinated the development and evaluation of an agent-based of agricultural production systems in the Argentinean Pampas.
I develop simulation tools for generating what-if scenarios for decision making. I predominantly use Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) technique as most of my simulations model complex systems. In some cases, I have extended existing tools with modifications to model the given system. Although the tools are meant for research purposes, I have followed industry friendly delivery mechanisms, such as unit-tests, autmated builds and delivery on cloud platforms.
I am interested in the evolutionary, cultural, and psychological processes through which complex human organizational patterns emerge. My approach consists largely of developing and analyzing mathematical and computational models of dynamic populations, which are informed by research across many disciplines. Some areas of study closely related to my work include social and cultural evolution, social identity and group formation, mate choice, institutional mechanisms for cooperation, social and cultural constraints on decision making, cognition, biological pattern formation, agent-based modeling, and the philosophy of modeling.
Farzaneh Davari is a social science researcher who has worked in many diverse fields, including agriculture, conflict, health, and human rights, just to name a few. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in Computational Social Science, focusing on social-ecological complex systems and applying computational science and Agent-Based Modeling to understand resilience procedure through self-organizing and learning. Meanwhile, she is a designer and instructor of the online graduate level course of Decision-making in Complex Environments in Virginia Tech.
Social-ecological complex system, resilience-building, conflictual environment