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 have developed several agent-based and cellular automata applications combining agent-based modelling, geographical information systems and visualisation to understand the complex mechanisms of decision making in land use change and environmental stewardship in order to analyse:
• the role of pastoral agriculture in regional development,
• the tradeoffs between land use intensification and water quality,
• the adoption of land-based climate change mitigation practices, and
• the incorporation of cultural values into spatial futures or scenario modelling.
My research focuses on building a systemic understanding of coupled human-natural systems. In particular, I am interested in understanding how patterns of land-use and land-cover change emerge from human alterations of natural processes and the resulting feedbacks. Study systems of interest include those undergoing agricultural to urban conversion, typically known as urban sprawl, and those in which protective measures, such as wildfire suppression or flood/storm impact controls, can lead to long-term instability.
Dynamic agent- and process-based simulation models are my primary tools for studying human and natural systems, respectively. My past work includes the creation of dynamic, process-based simulation models of the wildland fires along the urban-wildland interface (UWI), and artificial dune construction to protect coastal development along a barrier island coastline. My current research involves the testing, refinement, extension of an economic agent-based model of coupled housing and land markets (CHALMS), and a new project developing a generalized agent-based model of land-use change to explore local human-environmental interactions globally.
I am Professor in Computational Resilience Economics at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), which I joined in 2010. In September 2017 I also joined University of Technology Sydney (Australia) as Professor of Computational Economic Modeling working with spatial simulation models to study socioeconomic impacts of disasters and emergence of resilience across scales. I was honored to be elected as a Member of the De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (DJA/ KNAW in 2016) and of Social Sciences Council (SWR/KNAW in 2017). From 2009 to 2015 I have been working part-time as an economist at Deltares – the leading Dutch knowledge institute in the field of water management – specializing in economics of climate change, with focus on floods and droughts management.
I am interested in the feedbacks between policies and aggregated outcomes of individual decisions in the context of spatial and environmental policy-making. The issue of social interactions and information diffusion through networks to affect economic behavior is highly relevant here. My research line focuses on exploring how behavioral changes at micro level may lead to critical transitions (tipping points/regime shifts) on macro level in complex adaptive human-environment systems in application to climate change economics. I use agent-based modelling (ABM) combined with social science methods of behavioral data collection on individual decisions and social networks. This research line has been distinguished by the NWO VENI and ERC Starting grants and the Early Career Excellence award of the International Environmental Modeling Society (iEMSs). In 2018 I was invited to serve as the Associate Editor of the Environmental Modelling & Software journal, where I have been a regular Member of the Editorial Board since 2013.