Modelling population as a factor in the deforestation of Nang Rong, Thailand

Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ronald R. Rindfuss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Stephen J. Walsh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper will describe and present a cellular automata (CA) model of land use/land cover change in Nang Rong, Thailand. Our CA model is composed of a spatially referenced grid of cells occupying one of three land use/land cover states: forest; rice; upland crops. The state of a cell is determined by rules concerning the states of neighbouring cells in the previous time step as well as landform type, slope of the land, distance to water, soil moisture, soil suitabilities, and proximity to villages changing at varying rates. We use the CA model to examine how population, measured in terms of the location and changing size of villages in the district, affects land use/land cover change, given resource endowments and proximities and allowing for exogenous shocks in the prices of agricultural products. Of particular interest is the conversion of forest to agricultural uses, specifically paddy rice cultivation and upland crops.

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Presented in Session 72: Population and environment linkages in developing countries