Tuesday 6
Resilience to drought in Monsoon-dominated semi-arid environments : analysis through computer simulation
Andrea Balbo, Matthieu Salpeteur
› 15:45 - 16:40 (55min)
Resilience to precipitation variability in tropical semi-arid environments. Agent-based simulation of Holocene population dynamics in Kutch-Saurashtra, Gujarat, India
Andrea Balbo  1, *@  , Xavier Rubio-Campillo  2@  , Alexandre Albore  3@  , Bernardo Rondelli  1@  , Alexis Torrano  2@  , Carla Lancelotti  3@  , Matthieu Salpeteur  4@  , Victoria Reyes-García  4, 5@  , Marco Madella  1, 5@  
1 : Istitució Milà i Fontanals, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas  (IMF-CSIC)
C/Egipciaques 15, 08001 Barcelona -  Espagne
2 : Barcelona Supercomputing Centre  (BSC)
Nexus II Building, C/Jordi Girona, 29, 08034 Barcelona -  Espagne
3 : Information and Communication Technology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra  (ICT-UPF)
C/Tànger, 122-140, 08018 Barcelona -  Espagne
4 : Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona  (ICTA-UAB)
Edifici C Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona -  Espagne
5 : Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies  (ICREA)
* : Corresponding author

Based on archaeological evidence from Kutch-Saurashtra (N Gujarat, NW India), we use Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) to explore resilience to precipitation variability for hunter-gatherer (HG) groups in semi-arid environments dominated by the monsoon in the mid and late Holocene. Precipitation trends are modelled from instrumental records (1871 - 2008) calibrated with existing models for the Asian monsoon in the Holocene (c. 12 ka - present). Experiments explore dependencies between population dynamics and changes in precipitation trends (i.e. affecting resource availability) at the local, regional and continental scales. Average yearly precipitation (AYP) and variance in yearly precipitation (VYP) are the main parameters affecting resource availability in the simulations.

We assess the effects of environmental change on HG populations at different time-scales: (1) Patterns of seasonal (inter-annual) resource availability, (2) Effects of long-term (Pleistocene-Holocene) and mid-term (Holocene, millennial) precipitation trends, and (3) Effects of short-term intra-annual (annual, decadal) precipitation variability. Simulations show that: (1) Mid and late Holocene HG populations in India were adapted to strong seasonality, (2) Mid-term (Holocene) changes in AYP can hardly explain the extinction of HG populations in Kutch-Saurashtra 4 ka, (3) Short-term (annual to decadal) variance in precipitation is the main parameter affecting HG resilience in terms of population performance and overall ecosystem dynamics.

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