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Reference Category Qualification assignments
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Title (Primary) Analyzing resource use decisions under global change by agent-based modeling
Author Dreßler, G.
Source Titel PhD Dissertation
Year 2017
Department OESA
Volume 2/2017
Page To 126
Language englisch
UFZ inventory Leipzig, Bibliothek, Reportsammlung, 00520386, 17-0337 F/E
Abstract Achieving sustainable development to meet the needs of current and future generations is currently on top of the global agenda, both in scientific research as well as global politics. However, achieving sustainable development is still a grand challenge, not least because it is embedded in the context of global change that affects most resource use systems worldwide in multiple ways. Even though many approaches to sustainable management do consider the connection between human activity and environmental dynamics, the role of human behavior as a main driver of system dynamics in coupled human and natural systems is often only poorly addressed.In this thesis, we aim to contribute to an improved understanding under which conditions human resource use decisions lead to sustainable outcomes, with regard to global change. For this, we will take the perspective of human decision-making and its social, ecological and economic consequences in two different resource use contexts, namely a) pastoralism in drylands and b) disaster risk management with respect to floods. We explicitly consider individual human decision-making as driver of social-ecological system dynamics, investigate the feedbacks between system components, as well as the impact of global change on resource use.To analyze such complex system dynamics, simulation models have proven to be helpful analysis tools. Particularly agent-based modeling represents a flexible and powerful analysis tool, as it allows us to model the decisions and interactions of individual agents at the micro level, while at the same time observing the outcome of their behavior on a system level. Within three case studies, we develop agent-based simulation models that capture the dynamics and feedbacks of the social-ecological system under consideration in a spatially explicit way. The first study analyzes the performance of disaster management organizations under change. In the second study, we aim to detect the drivers for polarization in a pastoral system in Morocco. The last study investigates behavioral change of pastoralist households and its impact on social, ecological and economic outcome measures. By analyzing a range of scenarios in each study, we determine both the long-term impact of different decision regimes on the state of the socialecological system as well as the dimensions of change that have the most profound impact on the system dynamics and the sustainability of resource use.Main results that could be obtained from the modeling experiments include the identification of key resources that have a high influence on the long-term system dynamics. We are also able to show that under the influence of global change, access to certain resources gains in importance, as resources can act as buffer mechanisms to mitigate the adverse effects of global change. Through the operationalization of behavioral theories in model rules and the explicit representation of heterogeneous agent decision making, we could determine under which conditions a more refined representation of human decision making matters, and when a change in behavioral strategies leads to different social-ecological outcomes. Furthermore, all three modeling studies demonstrate the usefulness of stylized agent-based models to gain insights into complex systems.Overall, this thesis contributes to social-ecological systems research by developing appropriate simulation models to address the problem of sustainable resource use under global change.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Dreßler, G. (2017):
Analyzing resource use decisions under global change by agent-based modeling
Dissertation, Universität Osnabrück
PhD Dissertation 2/2017
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig, 126 pp.