Spatial relations across scales in land change models

Evaldinolia G. MoreiraAna Paula AguiarSérgio S. CostaGilberto Câmara

Land changes are the result of a complex web of interaction betweenhuman and biophysical factors, which act over a wide range of temporal andspatial scales. In this paper we conceptualize spatial relations amonggeographic objects at different scales. We analyze two types of spatialrelations: hierarchical, which handles the interaction of nested objects atdifferent scales (countries, states and municipalities, for example); and anetwork-based relation, which handles action-at-a-distance types ofinteraction (market chains, for instance) of objects at different scales (such asfarms in Central Amazonia to soybean market consumers at the global scale).We implemented such relations in the Terralib environment, in which they canbe constructed using selected strategies, and then used in dynamic models. Weexemplify the use of such concepts in a real-world case study in the BrazilianAmazonia. We conclude that combining hierarchical and network-basedspatial relations provide a comprehensive conceptual framework to includetop-down and bottom-up interactions and feedbacks in multi-scale land-change models.

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