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Agricultural land use modeling and climate change adaptation: A reinforcement learning approach

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Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Climate / Weather / Environment
Christian Stetter, Robert Huber and Robert Finger

This paper provides a novel approach to integrate farmers’ behavior in spatially explicit agricultural land use modeling to investigate climate change adaptation strategies. More specifically, the authors develop and apply a computationally efficient machine learning approach based on reinforcement learning to simulate the adoption of agroforestry practices. Using data from an economic experiment with crop farmers in Southeast Germany, their results show that a change in climate, market, and policy conditions shifts the spatial distribution of the uptake of agroforestry systems. Authors’ modeling approach can be used to advance currently used models for ex ante policy analysis by upscaling existing knowledge about farmers behavioral characteristics and combine it with spatially explicit environmental and farm structural data. The approach presents a potential solution for researchers who aim to upscale information, potentially enriching and complementing existing land use modeling approaches.