The role of social interaction in farmers' climate adaptation choice


Duinen, R. van and Filatova, T. and Veen, A. van der (2012) The role of social interaction in farmers' climate adaptation choice. In: International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software ‘Managing Resources of a Limited Planet’ , Sixth Biennial iEMSs Meeting, Leipzig, Germany, 03-07-2012, Leipzig (pp. 2493 - 2504).

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Abstract:Adaptation to climate change might not always occur, with potentially
catastrophic results. Success depends on coordinated actions at both
governmental and individual levels (public and private adaptation). Even for a “wet” country like the Netherlands, climate change projections show that the frequency and severity of droughts are likely to increase. Freshwater is an important factor for agricultural production. A deficit causes damage to crop production and consequently to a loss of income. Adaptation is the key to decrease farmers’ vulnerability at the micro level and the sector’s vulnerability at the macro level. Individual adaptation decision-making is determined by the behavior of economic agents and social interaction among them. This can be best studied with agentbased modelling. Given the uncertainty about future weather conditions and the costs and effectiveness of adaptation strategies, a farmer in the model uses a cognitive process (or heuristic) to make adaptation decisions. In this process, he can rely on his experiences and on information from interactions within his social network. Interaction leads to the spread of information and knowledge that causes learning. Learning changes the conditions for individual adaptation decisionmaking. All these interactions cause emergent phenomena: the diffusion of adaptation strategies and a change of drought vulnerability of the agricultural sector. In this paper, we present a conceptual model and the first implementation of an agent-based model. The aim is to study the role of interaction in a farmer’s social network on adaptation decisions and on the diffusion of adaptation strategies
and vulnerability of the agricultural sector. Micro-level survey data will be used to parameterize agents’ behavioral and interaction rules at a later stage. This knowledge is necessary for the successful design of public adaptation strategies, since governmental adaptation actions need to be fine-tuned to private adaptation behavior.
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