Modeling the environmental behavior and performance of livestock farmers in China: An ABM approach

C. Zheng, Y. Liu, B. Bluemling, J. Chen, A.P.J. Mol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The diversity of farmers is a central concern in the development of environmental policies related to livestock production. However, this diversity is largely ignored in policy making, implementation and evaluation in China. In this research, an Agent-based Nutrient Emission Model (ANEM) was developed by integrating the decision making-process of individuals into an environmental impact assessment. The agent based model facilitates an improved understanding of how farmer behavior and associated environmental consequences change according to the heterogeneity of and interactions among farmers. Decisions related to farm-scale, manure collection technologies and manure handling patterns were identified as the most relevant behavior categories when analyzing nutrient emissions. The model was applied to pig farming in Zhongjiang County in Sichuan Province of China to simulate the dynamics of local livestock production and the associated nutrient emissions during the period from 2005 to 2008. The results suggest that ANEM adequately captures real-world dynamics and can provide recommendations to policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalAgricultural Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • technology diffusion
  • systems
  • simulation

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