SEGS Research: Land Use


  • Changing social, economic, and ecological conditions are driving changes in land use. SEGS lab researchers use empirical data and models to assess human-environment interactions, evaluate payments for ecosystem services, and predict future scenarios.

  • Publications

  • An Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-Based Model (ILUTABM): Endogenizing Human Environment Interactions at Watershed Scales.

    Tsai, Y., Zia, A., Koliba, C., Bucini, G., Guilbert, J., and Beckage,

    2015. Land Use Policy.

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    Forest Transition Theory (FTT) suggests that reforestation may follow deforestation as a result of and interplay between changing social, economic and ecological conditions. We develop a simplistic but empirically data driven land use transition agent-based modeling platform, interactive land use transition agent-based model (ILUTABM), that is able to reproduce the observed land use patterns and link the forest transition to parcel-level heuristic-based land use decisions and ecosystem service (ES). We find that, when farmers value food provisioning Ecosystem Services (ES) more than other ES (e.g., soil and water regulation), deforestation is observed. However, when farmers value less food provisioning than other ES or they value food provisioning and other ES equally, the forest transition is observed. The ILUTABM advances the Forest Transition Theory (FTT) framework by endogenizing the interactions of socio-ecological feedbacks and socio-economic factors in a generalizable model that can be calibrated with empirical data.
  • Determining when payments are an effective policy approach to ecosystem service provision

    Kemkes, R., Farley, J. and Koliba, C.

    2010. Ecological Economics 69: 2069-2074.

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    There are several policy tools available for the provision of ecosystem services. The economic characteristics of the ecosystem service being provided, such as rivalry and excludability, along with the spatial scale at which benefits accrue can help determine the appropriate policy approach. In this paper we provide a brief introduction to ecosystem services and discuss the policy tools available for providing them along with the dimensions, political feasibility and appropriateness of each tool. Throughout the paper we focus primarily on payments as a mechanism for ecosystem service provision. We present a framework for determining the characteristics of an ecosystem service and when payments are a viable policy tool option based on the characteristics. Additionally, we provide examples of when payments do not provide a socially desirable level of ecosystem benefits. We conclude with a summary of policy recommendations, specifically desirable property rights and payment types based on the particular classification of an ecosystem service. We also discuss the advantages of creating monopsony power to reduce transaction costs, delineating and bundling ecosystem services and utilizing existing intermediaries.