Agent-based Social Simulation of Government Incentives for Diversifying Rubber in Yunnan, China uri icon


  • Monoculture rubber plantations are conquering Southeast Asian landscapes at an unprecedented rate. The district of Xishuangbanna is not only the epitome of Chinese biodiversity but also China's cradle of rubber framing. Driven by accelerated rubber demand and rising rubber prices, large forest areas have been converted into rubber plantations. This leads to a clash between the political goal to conserve biodiversity and heritage landscapes - both driving the rapidly emerging tourism industry - and economic aspirations at household and district levels. Currently, policy options are discussed to change incentives that better balance conserva tion and economics. The policy process invited this research to inform the political debate. One of the methods used d uring this participatory process was agent-based social simulation, revealing a few surprising insights in potentially perverse outcomes of payments for ecosystem services to convert monoculture rubber into green rubber. As an outcome of this modeling-based initiative the current debate revised previously drafted payment schemes and reconsiders regulatory approaches

publication date

  • 2014