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Spatiotemporal scale dependency and other sensitivities in dynamic land-use change simulations

Abstract

This study examines how land-use change simulation outcomes can vary based on the way the simulation model is applied, attempting to support informed model choices and model applications. This is accomplished through a series of experiments using a hypothetical model that represents the basic logic of various cell-based dynamic land-use change modeling environments. In the experiments, consideration is given to the sensitivity of the simulation results with respect to the following four application specifications: (1) the spatial resolution, (2) the temporal resolution, (3) the probability distribution, and (4) the degree of the influence of stochastic factors, under multiple growth scenarios. The experiments show that all four factors, particularly the spatiotemporal resolution and the degree to which stochastic factors are involved, can generate substantial variation in the simulation model outcomes. It is also found that the magnitude of the variation can be affected by changes in regional growth rates and the level of fluctuation, which determine the demand for new development to be allocated over the simulation time horizon. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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