Schindler, Julia: A multi-agent system for simulating land-use and land-cover change in the Atankwidi catchment of Upper East Ghana. - Bonn, 2010. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
Online-Ausgabe in bonndoc: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:5N-19543
@phdthesis{handle:20.500.11811/4160,
urn: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:5N-19543,
author = {{Julia Schindler}},
title = {A multi-agent system for simulating land-use and land-cover change in the Atankwidi catchment of Upper East Ghana},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2010,
month = jan,

volume = 68,
note = {Land-use and land-cover change (LUCC), which is a general term for the human modification of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, increasingly gains attention in the scientific community, due to its vast global extent and the role it plays in the Earth system functioning. About one third to one half of the global land surface has been modified by humans, and these changes are highly interrelated with many environmental, economic and social processes and problems. However, studies on LUCC processes are often challenged by the complex nature and unexpected behavior of both human drivers and natural constraints. Many studies tend to focus either on the human or the environmental part of LUCC systems, thus neglecting the interrelationships and responses among these two components. Many aspects of complexity can be overcome by a multi-agent based approach, whose design allows an integrated representation of the feedbacks, hierarchies and interdependencies of the coupled human-environment system of LUCC. A multi-agent simulation model (GH-LUDAS - GHana Land Use DynAmic Simulator) was developed to model this coupled human-environment system in a small-scale catchment in Ghana, thereby providing a simulation tool to predict land-use/cover patterns as related to socio-economic indicators. Apart from pure prediction, the aim of the model is to explore alternative future pathways of LUCC under selected policy, demographic and climatic conditions in order to provide stakeholders with support for making better-informed decisions about land resource management.
Multi-agent based modelling is an approach to design computational models for simulating the actions and interactions of autonomous individuals (i.e. agents) in a network, with a view to assessing their effects on the system as a whole. Thus, agent-based modeling can be regarded as a bottom-up modeling approach, as the behavior and interactions of single agents are specified, and complexity is considered to emerge from these specifications. Following this mindset, GH-LUDAS consists of four modules, which represent the main components of the human-evironment system of LUCC. The Human Module consists of collections of human agents (i.e. farm households), which are endowed with a set of attributes and autonomous behavior templates (i.e. the Decision Module), regulating land-use related decisions in response to the human agent’s attributes and those of its environment. The Landscape Module consists of collections of individual landscape agents (i.e. land patches of size 30 x 30 m), which are characterized by biophysical attributes and ecological mechanisms, which work in response to human decision-making and natural constraints (e.g. crop yield, land-cover change). The Global-policy Module consists of a range of external parameters, which allow the exploration of alternative future pathways of LUCC, and which relate to attributes of both human and landscape agents. The ability to provide an integrated representation of these components is one of the strengths of this approach, and its flexibility allows the upgrading and modification of processes where these have not yet been considered.
The developed model was applied to a small-scale catchment in Upper East Ghana, the Atankwidi catchment, which covers an area of about 159 km2. Spatially explicit data were obtained from an ASTER image, digitalmaps, an extensive land cover inventory and intensive household surveys. Field data were used to specify attributes and calibrate behavioral submodels of households and land patches. Considered external factors were the policies of dam construction and credit access, demographic changes, and rainfall change. Simulation outputs consist of a spatially and temporally explicit land use/cover map, visual graphs, and export files of selected land-use and livelihood indicators. These convenient output visualization tools, together with the user-friendly interface of GH-LUDAS, allow stakeholders to simulate and analyze selected scenarios, which can serve as a basis for discussion and communication among stakeholders and policy-makers.
Simulation results suggest that, among others, the policy of dam construction had much less effect on average annual income than that of credit provision, although it is the much more costly option in comparison to a credit scheme. Furthermore, a decline in annual rainfall seemed to trigger a shift towards cash cropping and non-farm activities, which could compensate for the losses in harvest caused by decreased precipitation. All simulated spatiotemporal data developed by these simulations can be used for further scientific analyses using GIS and statistical packages, thereby providing a basis for further understanding of local LUCC processes in Northern Ghana.},

url = {http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11811/4160}
}

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