HEMA Theme 2: Human-Environment Interactions
Human-environment interactions is one of five main themes of geography. Our focus is to understand how humans impact the environment which in turn impacts humans, either in terms of behavior or livelihoods. These “couplings” are studied in terms of feedbacks. Impacts that human have on the environment are manifested through individual behavior and/or management practices by organizations. We are exploring social systems from a variety of standpoints, from individuals, households, communities to large scale population changes.
Research has utilized the following approaches:
We use population forecasts and land use footprint requirements to approximate future land use and its spatial distribution. Our population modeling uses a variety of approaches, including statistical, geographic (using different spatial compartments to simulation population change) and life-table modeling.
Life Story Interviews
By framing a problem (e.g. coping to drought) within a context, we have embarked on some studies that attempt to learn how people and households have coped with environmental “shocks” and trends by having them tell us their life story. This semi-guided interview format allows people to relate complex relationships between people and their environment. Work in the Mt. Kenya region was conducted in 2008-2009 using this approach.
Role playing games
Exposing people to situations that require them to make a decision can help inform researchers about human behavior and reactions to new conditions (e.g., a new policy). This information can be collected in a gaming format where a sequence of events and behavioral outcomes are recorded and then analyzed.
We have developed a multi-agent based model (MABM), called MABEL (multi-agent based environmental landscape model). MABMs can be used to explore what-if questions related to environmental and social contexts related to individual behavioral outcomes.
Last updated March 6, 2011