Title

Agent-based modeling for bioenergy sustainability assessment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2019

Department

Department of Social Sciences, Department of Computer Science

Abstract

Woody biomass bioenergy is an important renewable alternative to conventional fossil fuels. However, the negative land-use change impacts of biomass harvesting necessary for bioenergy production can potentially outweigh its positive benefits if poorly managed. In this paper, we explain how Agent-Based Modeling (ABM), a form of computer simulation, can be used to conduct a comprehensive bioenergy sustainability assessment to identify possible gains and trade-offs necessary to develop bioenergy in regions with large numbers of private family forest owners or smallholders who own a significant share of available biomass. We discuss how ABM simulation can overcome the barriers of existing sustainability assessment tools and provide a demonstration of the sustainability assessment capabilities of an ABM using a hypothetical case study that explores the introduction of a bioenergy conversion facility in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, United States. We conduct a series of alternative futures scenarios and compare the sustainability outcomes of three alternative policy regimes using voluntary incentive programs to encourage smallholders to harvest biomass.

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.04.019

Publication Title

Landscape and Urban Planning

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