Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 13th Jan 2020

CAVES (Complexity, Agents, Volatility, Evidence and Scale)

The purpose of the CAVES project is to couple policy concerns for complex human-environmental systems with linked physical, biological and social models based soundly in complexity science.

Agent-based models have been developed to support investigation and policy analysis over three diverse cases of land use change: SEI Oxford and partners carried out a South Africa study highlighting water scarcity and employment opportunities:

"The case study for this work focuses on Sekhukhune district that until 2006 was a cross-border district occupying the northern part of Mpumalanga and the southern part of Limpopo Province, but now lies entirely in Limpopo Province. The area is arid, with few urban centres, located approximately 200km northeast of Pretoria. In the case study area, there are a range of stressors to which people are exposed, including water scarcity, climate variability, HIV/AIDS and food insecurity, that lead to high vulnerability (Ziervogel et al. 2005; 2006a; 2006b). The population in the case study area is highly reliant on state grants such as pensions or child/orphan grants, as well as money sent home from family members who have migrated to other areas for work."[1]

For more information on the work in Sekhukhune, please see this article.


  1. ↑ Alam, Shah Jamal, Meyer, Ruth, Ziervogel, Gina and Moss, Scott (2007). 'The Impact of HIV/AIDS in the Context of Socioeconomic Stressors: an Evidence-Driven Approach'. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 10(4)7 [1]