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  1. Despite more than 40 years of counterdrug interdiction efforts in the Western Hemisphere, cocaine trafficking, or ‘narco-trafficking’, networks continue to evolve and increase their global reach. Counterdrug interdiction continues to fall short of performance targets due to the adaptability of narco-trafficking networks and spatially complex constraints on interdiction operations (e.g., resources, jurisdictional). Due to these dynamics, current modeling approaches offer limited strategic insights into time-varying, spatially optimal allocation of counterdrug interdiction assets. This study presents coupled agent-based and spatial optimization models to investigate the co-evolution of counterdrug interdiction deployment and narco-trafficking networks’ adaptive responses. Increased spatially optimized interdiction assets were found to increase seizure volumes. However, the value per seized shipment concurrently decreased and the number of active nodes increased or was unchanged. Narco-trafficking networks adaptively responded to increased interdiction pressure by spatially diversifying routes and dispersing shipment volumes. Thus, increased interdiction pressure had the unintended effect of expanding the spatial footprint of narcotrafficking networks. This coupled modeling approach enabled the study of narco-trafficking network evolution while being subjected to varying interdiction pressure as a spatially complex adaptive system. Capturing such co-evolution dynamics is essential for simulating traffickers’ realistic adaptive responses to a wide range of interdiction scenarios.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 14, 2023
  2. Rates of poverty and economic inequality in rural Alabama are among the nation's highest and increasing agricultural productivity can provide a needed boost to these communities. The transition from rain-fed to irrigation-fed (RFtoIF) agriculture has significantly increased farm productivity and profitability elsewhere in the United States. Despite this potential to enhance stability and resilience in rural economies, irrigated cropland accounts for only 5% of Alabama's total cropland as numerous barriers remain to irrigation adoption. To encourage RFtoIF transition, it is imperative to identify the challenges faced by individual farmers at farm, community, and state levels. This study presents a multi-level mixed effects survival analysis to identify the physiographic, socioecological, and economic factors that influence the location and timing of irrigation adoption. We integrate spatiotemporal cropland and climatological data with field-verified locations of center-pivot irrigation systems, local physiographic characteristics, and parcel-level surface water access and average well depth. Access to surface water, costs to access groundwater, and soil characteristics were generally important influences in all regions, but regions were differentiated by the extent to which new irrigation was more responsive to social influences vs. precipitation and price trends. Our findings also highlighted the diversity of farming conditions across the state, whichmore »suggested that diverse policy tools are needed that acknowledge the varying motivations and constraints faced by Alabama's farmers.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 7, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023