Professional Summary


Beyond Computation

The Inspiration of John Holland

 (This piece, including a discussion with Prof. John Holland on what is a good agent-based model, appeared in the book

Aha... That is Interesting!

John Holland, 85 Years Young

Complexity Series, Volume I, 2014)

Sadly, prof. John Holland passed away on the 9th of August in 2015. His pioneering spirit will continue to inspire all students of the complexity science…


Tian, Q. (May 2017). Rural Sustainability: A Complex Systems Approach to Policy Analysis. Springer: New York (Introduction).


Contribution to other books

Institute of Remote Sensing Applications/Chinese Academy of Sciences (1997). Agricultural Atlas of China (English Version and Chinese Version), Star Map Press: Beijing. “Joint co-author”

Tian, Q. (1992). Attribute data management in GIS, in Yan, S. (ed.) Theory and Technology of GIS (in Chinese)

Using a complex adaptive systems approach, my research in land use, global environmental change, and development revolves around three central questions:

1.    What is the current state of a system, which suggests where the problems are and how we may improve the system?

2.    How do individual actions and interactions embedded within local and broader social and environmental settings shape the state of the system?

3.     How may the system evolve further in the future, and how can policies facilitate moving the system toward more desirable states?


Tian, Q., Lemos, M. (2018). Household livelihood differentiation and vulnerability to climatic hazards in rural China. World Development, 108, 321-331. PDF

Tian, Q., Jiang, L., Lemos, M., Qi, S. (2018). Interactions of Social, Natural, and Technological Subsystems and Synergy between Development and Adaptation to Floods around Poyang Lake. Annals of GIS. DOI: 10.1080/19475683.2018.1471520. PDF

Zhang, R., Tian, Q., Jiang, L., Crooks, A., Qi, S., Yang, R. (2018). Projecting cropping patterns around Poyang Lake and prioritizing areas for policy intervention to promote rice: A cellular automata model. Land Use Policy, 74, 248-260. PDF.

Tian, Q., Holland, J. H., Brown, D.G. (2016). Social and economic impacts of subsidy policies on rural development in the Poyang Lake Region, China: Insights from an agent-based model. Agricultural Systems, 148, 12-27. PDF.

Tian, Q., Guo, L., Zheng, L. (2016). Urbanization and rural livelihoods: A case study from Jiangxi province, China. Journal of Rural Studies. PDF.

Tian, Q., Brown, D.G., Bao, S, Qi, S. (2015). Assessing and mapping human well-being for sustainable development amid flood hazards: Poyang Lake Region of China. Applied Geography, 63, 66-76. PDF.

Tian, Q., Brown, D.G., Zheng, L., Qi, S., Liu, Y., Jiang, L. (2015).The role of cross-scale social and environmental contexts in household-level land-use decisions, Poyang Lake Region. Annals of Association of American Geographers, 105(6), 1240-1259.  PDF.

Qi, S., Brown, D.G., Tian, Q., Jiang, L., Zhao, T., Bergen, K. 2009. Inundation extent and flood frequency mapping for the Poyang Lake, China, floodplain using Landsat TM and DEM. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 46(1), 101-127. PDF.

Jiang, L., Bergen, K.M., Brown, D.G., Zhao, T., Tian, Q., Qi, S. 2009. Land-cover change and vulnerability to flooding near Poyang Lake, Jiangxi Province, China. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 74(6), 775-786. PDF.

Tian, Q., Feoli, E. 1999. A new algorithm for improving remote sensing image classification with other spatial data based on GOODALL's affinity index. Journal of Remote Sensing, China, 3(3), 187-192, 246.

Yan, S. Y., Xiao, C. S., Tian, Q., Zhou, Y., Wang, S. X. 1997. Chinese agricultural statistical geographic information system and its applications. Journal of Remote Sensing, China, 1(2), 152-156.

Yan, S. Y., Tian, Q., Wang, S. X. 1996. Preliminary study on development of general software tool for spatial decision support system. Remote Sensing on Environment, China, 11(1), 68-78.