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Human Adaptation to Climate Change in Bohdanska Valley (Ukrainian Carpathians)

Abstract: Bohdanska Dolyna (Bohdanska Valley) is an economically poor, relatively-isolated, and heavily forested watershed in the Rakhiv Region of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. It includes four villages, five active forestry enterprises, and one biosphere reserve. While timber harvesting remains the primary economic activity in the area and local source of income for villagers, green tourism is increasingly becoming a desired and talked about alternative.

The project consists of the following two parts: (a) developing a (multi -agent and -network) SOSIEL (Self-Organizing Social and Inductive Evolutionary Learning) Human Extension (SHE) for LANDIS-II, and (b) implementing LANDIS-II+SHE in Bohdan's Dolyna to study adaptation to climate change of local forest managers and village members. The design of SHE is grounded in theory from complexity science, psychology, sociology, and artificial intelligence. The project involves parameterizing LANDIS-II+SHE with real social and ecological data from Bohdan's Dolyna. 

Our research explores the following questions:
  1. What are the mental models of forest users?
  2. Which strategies allow for adaptation to climate change?
  3. How do mental models of forest users evolve as they adapt to climate change?
  4. How does social network structure influence adaptation to climate change?
  5. What does a transition to green tourism involve and what may it look like?

Lab members: Garry Sotnik and Robert Scheller.

Collaborators: Ivan Kruhlov (Lviv University, Ukraine), Kateryna Kovalchuk (Ukraine), Dominik Thom (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria), Oleg Chaskovskyy (Ukrainian National Forestry University, Ukraine), and William Keeton (University of Vermont, USA).

FundingFulbright Research Grant (prior), Intel Labs (current), Microsoft Azure Research Award (current), two Bushby Awards (current), Woskob New Century Fund (prior), Institute for Sustainable Solutions Student Fellows Development Fund (current), Fulbright Circle (prior), ABM'17 Professional Enhancement Award.

Status: Ongoing