Monday, October 23, 2023

Evaluating the incentive for soil organic carbon sequestration from carinata production

Over the years we have developed several agent-based models that have explored various aspects of farming, ranging from farmers selling their land for development to that of water reuse. Keeping with this theme, we have a new paper with Kazi Ullah and Gbadebo Oladosu in the "Journal of Environmental Management" entitled "Evaluating the incentive for soil organic carbon sequestration from carinata production in the Southeast United States". 
In the paper we developed an agent-based model to evaluate what incentives might be needed for farmers to sequester soil organic carbon (SOC) when adopting a new bioenergy crop namely carinata. We simulated two carinata management scenarios: business as usual and climate-smart (no-till). The model finds that SOC sequestration incentives reduce the seed price needed to reach maximum adoption rates. While incentives lead to higher adoption rates, SOC sequestration, and profitability with no-till farming. 
If this sounds of interest, below you can read the abstract to the paper, get a sense of the agent logic and see some of the results. While at the bottom of the page, you can find the full reference and a link to the paper. The model (created in NetLogo) and data needed to run it is available on Kazi's GitHub page:

Abstract: Soil organic carbon (SOC) can be increased by cultivating bioenergy crops to produce low-carbon fuels, improving soil quality and agricultural productivity. This study evaluates the incentives for farmers to sequester SOC by adopting a bioenergy crop, carinata. Two agricultural management scenarios – business as usual (BaU) and a climate-smart (no-till) practice – were simulated using an agent-based modeling approach to account for farmers’ carinata adoption rates within their context of traditional crop rotations, the associated profitability, influences of neighboring farmers, as well as their individual attitudes. Using the state of Georgia, US, as a case study, the results show that farmers allocated 1056 × 103 acres (23.8%; 2.47 acres is equivalent to 1 ha) of farmlands by 2050 at a contract price of $6.5 per bushel of carinata seeds and with an incentive of $50 Mg−1 CO2e SOC sequestered under the BaU scenario. In contrast, at the same contract price and SOC incentive rate, farmers allocated 1152 × 103 acres (25.9%) of land under the no-till scenario, while the SOC sequestration was 483.83 × 103 Mg CO2e, which is nearly four times the amount under the BaU scenario. Thus, this study demonstrated combinations of seed prices and SOC incentives that encourage farmers to adopt carinata with climate-smart practices to attain higher SOC sequestration benefits.

Keywords: Agent-based model, Bioenergy, Climate-smart agriculture, Soil organic carbon, Incentives, Sustainable aviation fuel.


Process, overview and scheduling of the model

An example simulation output of a model run (SOC incentive = $50 Mg−1 CO2e, Carinata contract price = 6.5, Expanded diffusion, Low initial willingness scenario).

The total number of farmers who adopted carinata over the years for two farming scenarios at five levels of incentives for SOC sequestration and at the four price levels.

The mean land allocation area for four scenarios and their associated standard deviations (error bar).

Full Reference:  

Ullah, K.M., Gbadebo G.A., and Crooks, A.T. (2023), Evaluating the Incentive for Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration from Carinata Production in the Southeast United States, Journal of Environmental Management, 348: 119418. Available at (pdf)

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Leveraging newspapers to understand urban issues

In the past, this blog has explored several aspects of Detroit, such as how well its covered with Volunteered Street View Imagery or how through the use of agent-based models one can explore issues with urban shrinkage. Keeping up with the theme of shrinkage and Detroit but at the same time utilizing our growing interest in natural language processing (especially topic modeling) we (Na (Richard) Jiang, Hamdi Kavak, Wenjing Wang and myself) have a new paper entitled "Leveraging newspapers to understand urban issues: A longitudinal analysis of urban shrinkage in Detroit" published in Environment and Planning B

In the paper, we take 6794 English news articles published by national and local press organizations (e.g., Forbes, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Detroit News) between 1975 to 2021 using the keywords “Detroit”, “shrink” and “decline.” These keywords were selected based on the characteristics of the study area (i.e., Detroit) and the phenomenon of urban shrinkage. With these data we then use BERTopic to detect and classify all collected news articles into certain topics. We chose BERTopic because it captures the semantic relationship among words converting sentences and words to embedding and automatically generates the topic unlike other NLP topic modeling techniques (e.g., LDA). Our topic modeling results identify several insights with respect to Detroit's shrinkage. For example, we can detect the side effects of the 2007-2009 economic recession on Detroit's automobile industry, local employment status, and the housing market. If sounds of interest and you want to find out more, below we provide the abstract, some figures from the paper including the methodology workflow and an example of the resulting topics over time. Finally, at the bottom of the page you can see the full reference and s link to the paper itself.


Today we are awash with data, especially when it comes to studying cities from a diverse data ecosystem ranging from demographic to remotely sensed imagery and social media. This has led to the growth of urban analytics providing new ways to conduct quantitative research within cities. One area that has seen significant growth is using natural language processing techniques on text data from social media to explore various issues relating to urban morphology. However, we would argue that social media only provides limited insights when dealing with longer-term urban phenomena, such as the growth and shrinkage of cities. This relates to the fact that social media is a relatively recent phenomenon compared to longer-term urban problems that take decades to emerge. Concerning longer-term coverage, newspapers, which are increasingly becoming digitized, provide the possibility to overcome the limitations of social media and provide insights over a timeframe that social media does not. To demonstrate the utility of newspapers for urban analytics and to study longer-term urban issues, we utilize an advanced topic modeling technique (i.e., BERTopic) on a large number of newspaper articles from 1975 to 2021 to explore urban shrinkage in Detroit. Our topic modeling results reveal insights related to how Detroit shrinks. For example, side effects of 2007 to 2009 economic recessions on Detroit’s automobile industry, local employment status, and the housing market. 

Key Words: Natural Language Processing, Topic Modeling, Newspapers, Urban Shrinkage, Urban Analytics.


 Vacancy status change from 1970 to 2010 for city of Detroit and surrounding area.
Topic modeling work flow.
Topics over time (a) urban, (b) population, (c) shrinkage, (d) economy, (e) job, (f) house.

Full Reference:

Jiang, N., Crooks, A.T., Kavak, H. and Wang, W. (2023), Leveraging Newspapers to Understand Urban Issues: A Longitudinal Analysis of Urban Shrinkage in Detroit, Environment and Planning B. Available at (pdf)

Monday, October 02, 2023

Spatial Data Science Symposium

The other week Yingjie Hu and myself co-organized a session entitled "Spatial Data Science for Disaster Resilience" as part for the 4th Spatial Data Science Symposium (SDSS 2023)

Session Abstract: 
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornados, wildfires, earthquakes, and blizzards, pose significant threats to people and society. The availability of various geospatial data sources (e.g., drone-collected images, mobile phone location data, social media data, and sensor network data) combined with the advancement of statistical and machine learning models provide great opportunities for understanding human-environment interactions during these catastrophic events. This session aims to bring together researchers interested in using spatial data science to answer questions and address issues in any aspect related to disaster management.

Talks in the session: 
  • Lei Zou (keynote): 
    • Achieving a Smart and Resilient Future with Spatial Data Science.
  • Qunying Huang
    • Wildfire Burnt Area Detection with Deep Learning and Sentinel2 Imagery.
  • Manzhu Yu
    • Deciphering Wildfire Dynamics: Spatiotemporal Attention-Based Sequence-to-Sequence Models Using ConvLSTM Networks.
  • Md Zakaria Salim
    • Socio-economic Disparities of Property Damage in Hurricane Ian.
  • Qingqing Chen
    • Community Resilience to Wildfire: A Network Analysis Approach by Utilizing Human Mobility Data.
  • Kai Sun
    • GALLOC: a GeoAnnotator for Labeling LOCation Descriptions from Disaster-related Text Messages.
If these talks sound of interest and as this was a online and distributed event, the main organizers of the Symposium have made all the talks available online.  The talks from our session can be seen below and all the other talks and seasons from the symposium at large can be found here.