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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Forest owner behavioral models, policy changes, and forest management. An agent-based framework for studying the provision of forest ecosystem goods and services at the landscape level

Sotirov, Metodi; Sallnas, Ola; Eriksson, Ljusk Ola

Abstract

In this paper, we develop an interdisciplinary agent-based framework for studying the provision of forest ecosystem goods and services (ES) at the landscape level. It combines forest owner types and their behavioral models with forest decision support systems (DSS). For this, we draw on mainstream decision-making theories in social sciences and relevant empirical evidence from Europe and beyond to suggest how economic, sociological and psychological rationalities can be combined to build a typology and behavioral models of forest owner decision-making including responsiveness to policy and socioeconomic changes. We then discuss how the theory-driven and evidence-based behavioral models in combination with forest owner and forest management insights can be used to analyze forest management behavior and responsiveness to policy and socioeconomic developments. By comparing standard forest DSS modeling results to exemplary results using the agent-based framework in terms of long-term simulations of timber production and biodiversity conservation in a case study in Sweden, we illustrate how the framework accounts for more differentiated and more realistic forest management practices at the forest landscape level. We discuss how the agent-based framework also helps explore and explain the impacts of future policy and socioeconomic changes on the provision of forest ES. We then suggest directions for future research that can further develop the framework and its use in forest modeling and DSS to better analyze the impact of future developments on forest management and the provision of forest ES at the landscape level.

Keywords

Agent-based modeling; Decision making; Decision support systems; Forest owner behavior; Forest landscapes; Policy change

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2019, Volume: 103, pages: 79-89
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV