Takuto Sakamoto, “A Computational Model of Nomads: Mobility and Sustainability of African Pastoralists,” Working Paper Series Study on Artificial Societies no.47 (April 2015)
Nomadic pastoralists inhabit a large area of arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). This paper offers a simple computational model of pastoral mobility, which is the key component explaining their survival in otherwise inhospitable ASALs. Employing an agent-based modeling (ABM) approach, the model explicitly simulates complex movement patterns of pastoralists over a landscape which shows the typical unpredictable dynamics of African dryland ecology. The model’s behavior is assessed against the rich evidence from the prior empirical literature on African pastoralism. The paper also reports on several sets of ‘policy experiments’ which evaluate the effect of rangeland interventions on mobility and livelihoods of pastoralists. These endeavors will pave the way for empirically richer as well as more policy-relevant analyses of African pastoralism.
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