Nicholas Magliocca ’12 Ph. D., GES, and Erle Ellis, GES, in PLOS ONE

Decisions on how to use land are influenced by environmental, economic, political and cultural factors. Because of these various factors, it is difficult to understand how decisions made at the local level affect changes in land-use on a global scale.

A new article in PLOS ONE by Nicholas Magliocca, a computational research associate at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) and former UMBC postdoc, Daniel G. Brown of University of Michigan and Erle C. Ellis of UMBC’s Department of Geography and Environmental Systems addresses these issues.

The article describes how the authors used an agent-based model as a virtual laboratory to explore how land-use decisions in test sites in the U.S., Laos and China were influenced by global and local processes. The researchers found the model outcomes confirmed that population, environmental  factors and market influences shaped land-use decisions across various land systems. Read the article at, and a summary on the SESYNC blog.


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