CALIBRATING CELLULAR AUTOMATA OF LAND USE/COVER CHANGE MODELS USING A GENETIC ALGORITHM
Keywords: Stochastic spatial simulation, Genetic algorithm, Amazon deforestation, landscape pattern, fragmentation, connectivity
Abstract. Spatially explicit land use / land cover (LUCC) models aim at simulating the patterns of change on the landscape. In order to simulate landscape structure, the simulation procedures of most computational LUCC models use a cellular automata to replicate the land use / cover patches. Generally, model evaluation is based on assessing the location of the simulated changes in comparison to the true locations but landscapes metrics can also be used to assess landscape structure. As model complexity increases, the need to improve calibration and assessment techniques also increases. In this study, we applied a genetic algorithm tool to optimize cellular automata’s parameters to simulate deforestation in a region of the Brazilian Amazon. We found that the genetic algorithm was able to calibrate the model to simulate more realistic landscape in term of connectivity. Results show also that more realistic simulated landscapes are often obtained at the expense of the location coincidence. However, when considering processes such as the fragmentation impacts on biodiversity, the simulation of more realistic landscape structure should be preferred to spatial coincidence performance.