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Integrated assessment and projection of land-use/cover change in the southern Yucatán peninsular region of Mexico

Steven M. Manson

This research develops a scenario-driven integrated model to project trends of tropical deforestation and cultivation and their effect on biotic diversity and carbon sequestration in the southern Yucatán peninsular region of Mexico. The research is conducted as an integrated assessment: it is policy relevant and addresses the complex interactions among socioeconomic and biophysical systems. It draws together several bodies of theory by considering land-use/cover change the result of land manager decision making in the context of the biophysical environment and socioeconomic institutions. This conceptual focus is formed as an agent-based dynamic spatial simulation that 1) examines several models of individual decision making subject to environmental and socioeconomic constraints and 2) allows policy makers to evaluate the effects of alternative land-use and institutional strategies. The model is calibrated and validated with household surveys, archival research, and spatial data including aerial photography, satellite imagery and geographic information system maps of land-use/cover and biophysical characteristics. The proposed research addresses three themes typically underexplored by current deforestation and integrated assessment models: 1) the distinct temporal and spatial patterns of deforestation and cultivation; 2) the complexity of, and relationships among, socioeconomic and environmental factors and 3) the value of information and the role of uncertainty.

 

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