Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Modelling the combinatory impact of stressors on mountain communities
Author: Roxburgh, Nicholas David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 9451
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Rural mountain communities in developing and transitioning countries are experiencing a period of rapid social, economic, and environmental change. While change has long been a feature of mountain life, the rate, magnitude, nature, and number of the transformations now taking place is unprecedented. These processes will have profound implications for the sustainability and welfare of mountain communities in the coming years. It is therefore important that their potential effects be understood. Considering stressors in isolation can give a false picture as each stressor alters the context within which the other stressors are operating. Holistic approaches are therefore needed. In this thesis, a method for doing this in a systematic, quantitative fashion is developed. The approach combines ethnographic fieldwork with agent-based modelling and is applied to a specific case study - a rural Nepalese mountain village that is experiencing stressors typical of many other mountain communities. The model that is developed incorporates the main social and ecological systems that were found at the fieldsite and it is populated with virtual villagers that are designed to behave in ways that closely mimic how real villagers behave. Stressor scenarios relating to changing fertility rates, increasing crop yield variability, and the occurrence of natural hazards are concurrently simulated within the model and their impact on household finances and village demographics is observed over a period of fifteen years. The results show that higher fertility rates, increased crop yield variability, and earthquakes all have negative long-term effects on household finances, and that each of these stressors compounds the effect of the other stressors. The results also highlight heterogeneity in the capacity of households to cope with stressors and demonstrate the important role that happenstance can play in exacerbating the effect of stressors and shocks. Substantial seasonal variation in the financial vulnerability of households is also revealed.
Supervisor: Stringer, Lindsay C. Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available