Urbanization leads to a continuous loss of agricultural land, both directly under the form of land take, and indirectly through the use of agricultural land for non-productive rural activities like recreation, horse keeping or hobby farming. These urbanization processes put pressure on farmers, making farming activities harder through reduced agricultural land, negative externalities and the competition for land. To estimate possible future changes, an agricultural agent-based model was combined with spatially explicit urbanization scenarios and with different agricultural subsidizing policies for the case study of Belgium. As a result of an aging farming population and low succession rates, simulations until 2035 showed a continuous decline of farmers in all scenarios; a trend that will continue for as long as not every farmer that quits his activities is replaced. The results also showed that these declines are expected to be higher in the rural-urban fringe.
- agent-based model