Why model landscapes at the level of households and fields

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Sustainable resource management relies upon many disciplines and deals with complex interactions at the landscape scale. Many of the issues at the landscape scale arise from decisions taken at the household level and affect land use in fields and in small patches of forest. Spatially-explicit modelling of these units is desirable because it enables rigorous testing of model predictions, and thus of underlying propositions. The greatest insights may be obtained by participatory modelling of these processes as we understand them. Despite this, few models simulate dynamics at the household and field level. FLORES, the Forest Land Oriented Resource Envisioning System, is a simulation system that attempts to bring these elements together into a coherent package to assist stakeholders to explore options and their implications. The hallmark of FLORES is explicit modelling of the interrelationship between actors and land parcels within a spatial framework. FLORES demonstrates the feasibility and possible benefits of modelling at this scale.

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