Abstract for: Mautam famines in Mizoram: An exploratory system dynamics approach

Mizoram, a state in the Northeast of India, is affected every half-century by cycles of crop damages and famines. These events - locally known as Mautam - have been hypothesized to follow the periodic flowering of bamboo forests and subsequent rodent outbreaks. As such, the 1958-1960 Mautam resulted in a significant loss of lives; more recently, a 2007-2008 outbreak caused heavy damages to crops. However, the dynamics of the bamboo and rodent ecosystems remain poorly understood, as are their interrelationships with Mizoramís agriculture. This draft paper therefore presents an exploratory System Dynamics model of Mizoramís Mautam phenomenon, focusing on the application of a systematic framework for uncertainty analysis. Furthermore, a representative set of policies was tested under deep uncertainty to evaluate possible outcomes. Preliminary results indicate that although the model is highly sensitive to the properties of the human and rodent population subsystems, emphasizing market connectivity to facilitate food imports may be a promising and robust policy.