Integrating behavioural models with GIS for land-use policy impact modelling
In this project, a range of characteristics describing farmers as decision-makers and details of their land holdings are integrated within a Geographic Information System (GIS) and used to predict overall farm response to defined policy scenarios, for a study area in the upland fringe of Grampian Region. Agriculture has undergone considerable adjustments over the past 40 years, characterised by the processes of intensification and specialisation of farming systems. These changes have been essentially policy-driven, although the precise interaction of policy, technological and macro-economic forces are not entirely understood. Further to this, rural areas are subject to an increasing range of consumption demands which has stimulated a new range of land-use policy schemes, and constraints, on farmers and landowners. From a position of assured government support which was enjoyed by the majority of farmers until the mid-1980s, the policy situation has developed into one of uncertainty and some confusion over the requirements and responsibilities placed on individual farmers. This research links spatial, behavioural and economic elements which combine to condition farm-level response to policy change. The complexity of individuals' decision environments, coupled with the diversity of individuals' values, objectives and resources is immense. The focus is on individual farms, and the implications of change at the individual level in developing a model of farm-level response to policy and market shifts.