An agent-based approach to model land-use change at a regional scale

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Land-use/cover change (LUCC) is a complex process that includes actors and factors at different social and spatial levels. A common approach to analyse and simulate LUCC as the result of individual decisions is agent-based modelling (ABM). However, ABM is often applied to simulate processes at local scales, while its application in regional studies is limited. This paper describes first a conceptual framework for ABM to analyse and explore regional LUCC processes. Second, the conceptual framework is represented by combining different concepts including agent typologies, farm trajectories and probabilistic decision-making processes. Finally, the framework is illustrated through a case study in the Netherlands, where processes of farm cessation, farm expansion and farm diversification are shaping the structure of the landscape. The framework is a generic, straightforward approach to analyse and explore regional LUCC with an explicit link to empirical approaches for parameterization of ABM
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-199
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • global environmental-change
  • multiagent systems
  • cover change
  • behavioral-model
  • coupled human
  • farmers
  • landscape
  • science
  • simulation
  • attitudes


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