Eugenio Arima and Marcellus Caldas were affiliated with Michigan State University during the time the work reported in this article was done.
Accuracy Assessment for a Simulation Model of Amazonian Deforestation
Article first published online: 13 NOV 2007
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Volume 97, Issue 4, pages 677–695, December 2007
How to Cite
Pontius, R. G., Walker, R., Yao-Kumah, R., Arima, E., Aldrich, S., Caldas, M. and Vergara, D. (2007), Accuracy Assessment for a Simulation Model of Amazonian Deforestation. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 97: 677–695. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2007.00577.x
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 13 NOV 2007
- Initial submissions, February 2006; revised submissions, September and October 2006; final acceptance, October 2006
- behavioral landscape model;
This article describes a quantitative assessment of the output from the Behavioral Landscape Model (BLM), which has been developed to simulate the spatial pattern of deforestation (i.e. forest fragmentation) in the Amazon basin in a manner consistent with human behavior. The assessment consists of eighteen runs for a section of the Transamazon Highway in the lower basin, where the BLM's simulated deforestation map for each run is compared to a reference map of 1999. The BLM simulates the transition from forest to non-forest in a spatially explicit manner in 20-m × 20-m pixels. The pixels are nested within a hierarchical stratification structure of household lots within larger development rectangles that emanate from the Transamazon Highway. Each of the eighteen runs derives from a unique combination of three model parameters. We have derived novel methods of assessment to consider (1) the nested stratification structure, (2) multiple resolutions, (3) a simpler model that predicts deforestation near the highway, (4) a null model that predicts forest persistence, and (5) a uniform model that has accuracy equal to the expected accuracy of a random spatial allocation. Results show that the model's specification of the overall quantity of non-forest is the most important factor that constrains and correlates with accuracy. A large source of location agreement is the BLM's assumption that deforestation within household lots occurs near roads. A large source of location disagreement is the BLM's less than perfect ability to simulate the proportion of deforestation by household lot. This article discusses implications of these results in the context of land change science and dynamic simulation modeling.