Derek T. Robinson

Derek T. Robinson
University of Waterloo | UWaterloo · Department of Geography and Environmental Management (Environment)

PhD

About

92
Publications
91,031
Reads
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2,851
Citations
Introduction
My research involves building representations (i.e., models) of natural and human systems to estimate the impacts of land change scenarios and land-use policies on ecosystem function, human well-being, and sustainable livelihoods. I typically use agent-based approaches to integrate GIS, ecological, and human decision-making models (with a range of different types of data) to answer research questions at the intersection of these fields of research
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - January 2021
University of Waterloo
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
May 2010 - December 2011
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • PostDoc Position
March 2009 - December 2010
University of Michigan
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 2003 - April 2009
University of Michigan
Field of study
  • School of Natural Resources & Environment
September 2001 - April 2003
University of Waterloo
Field of study
  • Department of Geography
September 1997 - April 2001
University of Waterloo
Field of study
  • Department of Geography

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
The Alberta wetland policy aims to protect the most valuable wetlands and maintain wetland functions despite unavoidable wetland loss. The Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool-Actual (ABWRET-A) was developed to quantify wetland functions in support of policy implementation. We evaluated > 200 wetlands used to calibrate ABWRET-A and > 2000 wetlands...
Article
Agent-based models (ABMs) have been widely used to represent and investigate complex systems and are a contemporary modelling approach used in the study of land-use change. While many ABMs have been constructed to address research associated with residential land development and human choices, agricultural land transition and farmer decision-making...
Article
A multi-scale suitability analysis using big data (4.7 million suitability scores) is presented across a large spatial extent (1.076 million km ² ) to identify potential locations for new home-improvement retail stores. Suitability scores were generated for individual property parcels using criteria weights derived from surveyed retail-industry exp...
Article
Full-text available
Issues of scale pervade every aspect of socio-environmental systems (SES) modeling. They can stem from the context of both the modeling process, and the purpose of the integrated model. A webinar hosted by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), The Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS) and the journal Socio-Environmental Systems...
Article
Full-text available
Wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) are forecast to retract in their ranges due to climate change, and potholes that typically contain ponded water year-round, which support a larger proportion of biological communities, are most sensitive to climate change. In addition to climate, land use activities and topography also influence ponded w...
Article
Full-text available
Curve Lake First Nation (CLFN) in Ontario has a mainland Reserve area of 649 ha and a Reserve population of 1368; 768 of whom are CLFN members and 600 of whom are seasonal or permanent non-members. Land management is an amalgam - there is much formal land tenure through Certificates of Possession (CPs) and leases but little formal land use planning...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization can be a challenge and an opportunity for earthquake risk mitigation. However, little is known about the changes in exposure (for example, population and urban land) to earthquakes in the context of global urbanization, and their impacts on fatalities in earthquake-prone areas. We present a global analysis of the changes in population...
Article
Humanity is facing many grand challenges at unprecedented rates, nearly everywhere, and at all levels. Yet virtually all these challenges can be traced back to the decision and behavior of autonomous agents that constitute the complex systems under such challenges. Agent-based modeling has been developed and employed to address such challenges for...
Article
Full-text available
The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) has been the de-facto standard for soil erosion management studies since its seminal publication in the 1970's. Widespread use of the model is due, in part, to its simple empirical modelling structure and parsimonious parameterization; however, these benefits have also led to criticism of its relevance as a t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) are forecast to retract in their ranges due to climate change and potholes that typically contain ponded water year-round, which support a larger proportion of biological communities, are most sensitive to climate change. In addition to climate, land use activities and terrain also influence ponded water...
Article
Full-text available
Wetlands are multi-functional systems that provide a disproportionate number of ecosystem services given the spatial extent they occupy both nationally and globally. The ecological functioning of these wetlands is dependent on the structure of the landscape, which poses unique challenges when reclaiming wetlands in areas where resource extraction i...
Article
Despite the critical role that replication plays in the advancement of science, its presence in modelling literature is rare. To encourage others to conduct replication and report success and challenges that facilitate or hinder replication, we present the replication of an agent-based model (ABM) of residential sprawl using the Replication Standar...
Article
Full-text available
Soil erosion models, typically applied at basin and watershed scales, are rarely evaluated at agricultural field scales due to the lack of spatially-distributed time series data. A novel unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) methodology was used to quantify farm-field soil erosion from nine UAV surveys and structure-from-motion (SfM). Using a semi-distribu...
Article
Soil erosion from agricultural lands continues to be a global societal problem. The movement of soils is often accompanied by nitrogen and phosphorus that are crucial to crop growth, but their redistribution from farm fields to waterways can reduce crop yields and degrade water quality. While within-field sediment and nutrient movement has been qua...
Article
Full-text available
As ecological restoration projects increase in size and complexity, scalable indicators of biodiversity change are needed for monitoring and evaluation. Through three experiments, we tested (1) if relative surface temperature decreased over time across 31 fields initially restored from agriculture to oak woodland between 2006 and 2013, (2) if diurn...
Article
Full-text available
Distributed measurements of agricultural erosion at the farm-scale are needed to evaluate both the on and off-site impacts of sediment redistribution. While best management practices have been shown to reduce surface erosion rates and improve water quality, their farm-scale effects can be difficult to quantify. In this study we use imagery from an...
Article
Full-text available
The article “Quantifying Topographic Characteristics of Wetlandscapes by Collin Branton & Derek T. Robinson was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal (currently SpringerLink) on June 25, 2019 without open access.
Article
Full-text available
Designing, implementing, and applying agent-based models (ABMs) requires a structured approach, part of which is a comprehensive analysis of the output to input variability in the form of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis (SA). The objective of this paper is to assist in choosing, for a given ABM, the most appropriate methods of SA. We argue tha...
Article
Full-text available
Structure-from-motion (SfM) and multi-view stereo (MVS) algorithms coupled with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become a popular tool in the geosciences for modelling complex landscapes on-demand allowing for high-resolution topographic change-detection studies to be conducted at minimal cost. To identify the effects of UAV image or...
Article
Full-text available
Modeling is essential to characterize and explore complex societal and environmental issues in systematic and collaborative ways. Socio-environmental systems (SES) modeling integrates knowledge and perspectives into conceptual and computational tools that explicitly recognize how human decisions affect the environment. Depending on the modeling pur...
Article
Full-text available
The presented paper synthesizes and reviews the history of Fist Nation land management, forming the background of three land management regimes types; the Indian Act land management (IALM), First Nations land management (FNLM) and frameworks of self-government land management (SGLM). The three regimes are compared to the Community Well-Being (CWB)...
Article
Topography underpins natural processes ranging from incident solar radiation to overland flow and water pooling. Despite the influence of topography on natural processes, especially in wetland ecosystems reliant on uplands for water inputs, topography has not been adequately incorporated into reclamation planning. Instead, wetland reclamation proje...
Article
Full-text available
Concordance among wetland physicochemical conditions, vegetation, and surrounding land cover may result from the influence of land cover on the sources of plant propagules, on physicochemical conditions, and their subsequent determination of growing conditions. Alternatively, concordance may result if differences in climate, soils, and species pool...
Article
Full-text available
Highly accurate digital surface models are an essential part of change-over-time analyses for monitoring erosion processes. Streambank topography presents a unique challenge for surface mapping due to dense riparian vegetation, canopy cover, and rapidly changing elevation values. The spatial heterogeneity of stream corridors has made the calculatio...
Article
Full-text available
Land-use change can have local-to-global environment impacts such as loss of biodiversity and climate change as well as social-economic impacts such as social inequality. Models that are built to anaPlyze land-use change can help us understand the causes and effects of change, which can provide support and evidence to land-use planning and land-use...
Article
This research analyzes the impact of climate change and surface mining activities on the hydrologic connectivity of surficial (soil and geological) layers located in a watershed in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Surface water and groundwater flow are simulated for the period 2014 – 2080 under four climate scenarios: Median (M), Double precipitatio...
Article
Full-text available
The unprecedented use of Earth's resources by humans, in combination with increasing natural variability in natural processes over the past century, is affecting the evolution of the Earth system. To better understand natural processes and their potential future trajectories requires improved integration with and quantification of human processes....
Article
Data and estimates on the spatial distribution of consumer spending form the foundation of retail location analysis and location-allocation spatial interaction models. The presented research presents and compares four methods to estimate consumer spending that combine different levels of detail in household spending data across multiple levels of h...
Article
Full-text available
ContextWidespread loss of wetland ecosystems resulting from human land use highlights the need for a reclamation strategy that can sustain wetland ecosystem services. Since wetland function partly depends on landscape structure, reclamation and monitoring can be aided by knowing the differences in wetland configuration between undisturbed and distu...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a large household survey in a region of the Amazon estuary in Brazil to investigate the dependence of small farming households on government cash transfers and to identify the main factors that lead to better livelihood outcomes. The study examined the factors that contribute to heterogeneous household livelihoods and patterns of depen...
Article
Full-text available
The unprecedented use of Earth's resources by humans, in combination with the increasing natural variability in natural processes over the past century, is affecting evolution of the Earth system. To better understand natural processes and their potential future trajectories requires improved integration with and quantification of human processes....
Chapter
Spatial patterns emerge and evolve over time due to a myriad of underlying spatially dependent processes. Understanding these geographical processes requires the representation of dynamic complex systems and a spatial analysis that is dynamic. Studying these systems, then, requires conceptualizing and operationalizing approaches to represent relati...
Article
Topographic and elevation data are essential in the development of supporting infrastructure around mining sites. The de facto standard for acquiring elevation data is through light detection and ranging (lidar). The high labour and monetary cost of acquiring lidar has fostered more cost-effective approaches for creating elevation models that use s...
Article
Full-text available
Exurban residential land (one housing unit per 0.2-16.2 ha) is growing in importance as a human-dominated land use. Carbon storage in the soils and vegetation of exurban land is poorly known, as are the effects on C storage of choices made by developers and residents. We studied C storage in exurban yards in southeastern Michigan, USA, across a ran...
Article
Full-text available
Megaprojects such as oil sands mining require large-scale and long-term closure and reclamation plans. Yet these plans are created and approved without considering future climate and hydrological conditions, jeopardizing the sustainability of reclaimed landscapes.
Article
In this paper, an agent-based model of heterogeneous farmer decision-making was coupled with an individual-based model of skylark breeding populations, and applied to a small intensive arable catchment in Scotland. The impacts of farmer decisions on a tradeoff between food and bioenergy production, and skylark numbers, were simulated under the assu...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Exurban residential settlement, defined as low-density development that is often disconnected from city sewer and water systems, expanded significantly during the last half of the twentieth century. The implications of these development patterns for ecosystem function have not been well documented. Given the relatively...
Article
Full-text available
Land-use change in a market economy, particularly at the urban–rural fringe in North America, is shaped through land and housing markets. Although market activities are at the core of economic studies of land-use change, many market elements are neglected by coupled human–environment models. We scrutinized the effects of the level of detail of mark...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The goal of this project is to take a model used for numerous biomes and apply it to the growing human-dominated exurban landscape. One challenge is that most ecosystem process models are developed for homogeneous wildland systems and in the exurban landscape there are heterogeneous mixtures of vegetation types that ha...
Article
Full-text available
The area of land occupied by exurban residential development is significant and has been increasing over the past several decades in the United States. Considerable attention has been drawn to the measurement of regional-scale patterns of land-cover change and assessment of its environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Yet little is known about...
Chapter
In response to the need to understand the drivers, processes, and consequences of human activities that change the land surface, the developing science of land change is addressing observations, explanations, and predictions of these land-surface changes (Gutman et al. 2004; Rindfuss et al. 2004; Turner, Lambin, and Reenberg 2007). In that context,...
Article
Full-text available
The ecosystem service concept has emphasized the role of people within socio-ecological systems (SESs). In this paper, we review and discuss alternative ways of representing people, their behaviour and decision-making processes in SES models using an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach. We also explore how ABM can be empirically grounded using inf...
Chapter
Full-text available
Urban sprawl is shaped by various geographical, ecological and social factors under the influence of land market forces. When modeling this process, geographers and economists tend to prioritize factors most relevant to their own domain. Still, there are very few structured systematic comparisons exploring how the extent of process representation a...
Article
Full-text available
The rate of low-density development beyond the urban and suburban periphery, known as exurban areas, has occurred at a rate faster than both urban and population growth and has the potential to affect water quality, carbon storage, and habitat availability. This paper is aimed at understanding the relationships between the heterogeneity of the huma...
Article
Full-text available
Agent-based models of land use and cover change (ABMs/LUCC) have traditionally represented land-use and land-cover changes as arising from social, economic and demographic conditions, while spatial ecological models have tended to simulate the environmental impacts of spatially aggregated human decisions. Incorporating a dynamic representation of e...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Land-use change and land-management decisions can significantly affect human and natural systems. Using an agent-based modelling approach, we estimate a number of natural and human impacts resulting from land-use dynamics. In the first section of this deliverable we evaluate the impacts of different actors and their spatial location decisions and m...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods While extensive ecological research has taken place on forest, grassland, and urban ecosystems, little is known about C and N dynamics in exurban landscapes (human dominated with low housing densities), which are undergoing rapid expansion. In our study system of SE Michigan, USA, residential development is occurring pri...
Article
Full-text available
The overarching goal of this dissertation is to improve our understanding of the coupled natural-human land-use system in Southeastern Michigan. To accomplish this task Chapter Two presents an implementation of the DEED (Dynamic Exurban Ecological Development) model, which was used to evaluate the effects of land-use policies on forest cover. This...
Article
Full-text available
We use a GIS-based agent-based model (ABM), named dynamic ecological exurban development (DEED), with spatial data in hypothetical scenarios to evaluate the individual and interacting effects of lot-size zoning and municipal land-acquisition strategies on possible forest-cover outcomes in Scio Township, a municipality in Southeastern Michigan. Agen...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A workshop organized by the Land Use and Carbon Cycle Steering groups of the US Global Change Research Program that occurred from June 8 to 9 2009 in Ann Arbor, MI.
Article
Full-text available
To extend coupled human–environment systems research and include the ecological effects of land-use and land-cover change and policy scenarios, we present an analysis of the effects of forest patch size and shape and landscape pattern on carbon storage estimated by BIOME-BGC. We evaluate the effects of including within-patch and landscape-scale het...
Article
Full-text available
Theoretical urban policy literature predicts the likelihood of free riding in the management of common goods such as forested open space; such outcome is often characterized as a Prisoner's Dilemma game. Numerous cases exist in which neighboring jurisdictions cooperate to maintain public goods, challenging the expected results, yet theoretical expl...