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J Environ Manage. 2002 May;65(1):1-23.

Belief network models of land manager decisions and land use change.

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Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Banchory, Hill of Brathens, Glassel, Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 4BW, UK.


A two-stage model of land use change is described, which is driven by the types of decisions that land managers make when changing their broad styles of use. The first stage uses decision modelling techniques to assess if a manager is currently satisfied with the present situation, when compared to various potential alternatives. If this evaluation indicates satisfaction, it is assumed that the present land use will continue. However, if it indicates dissatisfaction, Belief Network techniques are used to estimate, in more detail, both how dissatisfied the manager is and whether the costs of changing, from the present use to a potentially better one, will be out-weighed by the anticipated benefits. The proposed models can use a variety of cost and benefit criteria (e.g. financial, social and ecological). The approach is illustrated with a case-study of the factors that might influence changes from farming to forestry in marginal upland areas of the UK.

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