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Agent-based modeling of environment-migration linkages: a review

Jule Thober, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Leipzig, Germany
Nina Schwarz, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Leipzig, Germany; University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede, The Netherlands
Kathleen Hermans, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Leipzig, Germany; Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-10200-230241

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Abstract

Environmental change can lead to human migration and vice versa. Agent-based models (ABMs) are valuable tools to study these linkages because they can represent individual migration decisions of human actors. Indeed, there is an increasing, yet small, number of ABMs that consider the natural environment in rural migration processes. Therefore, we reviewed 15 ABMs of environment-migration linkages in rural contexts to synthesize the current state of the art. The reviewed ABMs are mostly applied in tropical contexts, serve a wide range of purposes, and cover diverse scales and types of environmental factors, migration processes, and social-ecological feedbacks. We identified potential for future model development with respect to the (1) complexity of environmental influence factors, (2) representation of relevant migration flows, and (3) type of social-ecological couplings. We found that existing models tend to not include fully integrated feedbacks and provide recommendations for the further development of ABMs to contribute to an understanding of the environment-migration-nexus in the future.

Key words

agent-based modeling; environmental change; fully integrated feedbacks; migration; review; social-ecological system

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087