Participatory Bayesian network modeling to understand driving factors of land-use change decisions

Related GLP Member: Ntsiva Andriatsitohaina, Enrico Celio, Jorge C. Llopis, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey


Forest frontiers worldwide reveal trade-offs that are key in mitigating global change. In the forest frontiers of northeast Madagascar, land-use changes result from decisions made by smallholder farmers. In the past, subsistence needs led to increasing shifting cultivation, resulting in forest degradation and deforestation. This study focuses on investigating the role of locally determined factors in land-use change decisions in the forest frontier context. Therefore, we developed a Bayesian network-based land-use decision model that represents the causalities between factors influencing land-use decisions and takes into account local decision-makers’ knowledge. The approach is applied in two comparative case studies in northeast Madagascar. Results show that farmers mostly aim at extending the cultivation of cash crops. These results and the causal mechanisms disentangled for the forest frontier of northeast Madagascar help understand change mechanisms and hence, support decision-making to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.