Rajiv Paudel

  • Ph.D.

  • Email: paudelra@msu.edu
  • Geography Building
    673 Auditorium Rd, Room 116
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Areas of interest: Agent-based modeling, GIS, Human-environment Systems, Food security

Research Synopsis:

My research interests revolve around using geographic information systems and agent-based models to analyze two distinct yet very critical sectors- social vulnerability and biodiversity management. I am currently developing a spatially explicit agent-based model to explore rural household’s vulnerabilities to food insecurity under climate change. Rural populations, especially in developing countries, are expected to suffer the most from the future climate change. Climatic factors, land degradation, and traditional farming are often blamed for rural agricultural productivity decline. As a result, agricultural intensification gets priorities in local or regional plans and policies for ensuring food security. However, improving production alone cannot address food insecurity; access to food is equally important. Various socio-economic factors restrict people’s access to available food, yet they get little attention in food security discourse. Since food security lies at the intersection of food availability and access, it requires a broader analysis of its biophysical and socioeconomic components affecting food production and access. Agent-based models of socio-ecological systems focus on social dynamics and decision-making processes, and often fall short of capturing the core crop production dynamics. Conversely, popular crop models concentrate on crop productivity and fail to integrate social processes in the models. I plan to bring the best of both modeling approaches by integrating a socioecological agent-based model with a crop model. The loosely coupled model will help me simultaneously analyze the effects of both biophysical and socio-economic factors on rural food security and explore its future trajectories.