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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coffe Hour with Dr. Stephen Walsh

The Department of Geography, Environment and Society is holding a Coffee Hour Friday, November 1 in Blegen 445 at 3:30. Dr. Stephen Walsh will give a talk titled "Enhanced Process Understanding of the Drivers of Land Use/Land Cover Change by Synthesizing across Agent Based Models."

Drawing upon Work conducted In the Ecuadorian Amazon, Northeastern Thailand, and The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador to examine the proximate and distal drivers of land use/land cover change, dynamic systems are assessed through fundamental concepts of biocomplexity-emergent behaviors, feedback mechanisms, and complex adaptive systems. Agent Based Models (ABMs) are used to enhance our understanding of social and ecological processes and their linked effects by examining the behavior of farmers linked to deforestation, agricultural extensification, and urbanization in the Ecuadorian Amazon frontier; the adaptive capacity of farmers and the behavior of household migrants on household wealth and assets in Northeastern Thailand; and the preferences of international tourists and tourism accommodation offers in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
Synthesizing across models offers the opportunity to enhance process understanding by constructing a fuller and more complete description of social and ecological processes that are subject to environmental variations, social dynamics, and behavioral shifts. Agents in our models learn and adapt to changing circumstances, imposed by endogenous forces and exogenous factors that alter contexts, relationships, and trajectories of change.