An empirically informed agent-based model of a Nepalese smallholder village

MethodsX. 2021 Mar 31;8:101276. doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2021.101276. eCollection 2021.


Agent-based modelling methodologies offer a number of advantages when it comes to socio-ecological systems research. In particular, they enable experiments to be conducted that are not practical or feasible to conduct in real world settings; they can capture heterogeneity in agent circumstances, knowledge, behaviour, and experiences; and they facilitate a multi-scale, causal understanding of system dynamics. However, developing detailed, empirically informed agent-based models is typically a time and resource intensive activity. Here, we describe a detail-rich, ethnographically informed agent-based model of a Nepalese smallholder village that was created for the purpose of studying the impact of multiple stressors on mountain communities. In doing so, we aim to make the model accessible to other researchers interested in simulating such communities and to provide inspiration for other socio-ecological system modellers.•The model is described using the ODD protocol.•The number of replicate runs required for experiments is discussed, and the model validation and sensitivity analysis processes that have been conducted are explained.•Suggestions are made for how the model can practically be used and for how model outputs can be analysed.

Keywords: Agriculture; Earthquakes; Livestock; Multi-scale; Nepal; Population synthesis; Shocks; Simulation; Socio-ecological system; Stressors.