This work presents two different strategies of ABM for management of selected lakeland landscapes and their impact on sustainable development. Two different lakeland research areas as well as two different sets of agents and their decision rules were compared. In Strategy 1 decisions made by farmers and their influence on the land use/cover pattern as well as the indirect consequence of phosphorus and nitrogen delivery to the water bodies were investigated. In this strategy, a group of farmer agents is encouraged to participate in an agri-environmental program. The Strategy 2 combines the decisions of farmers, foresters and local authorities. The agents in the model share a common goal to produce a spatial plan. The land use/cover patterns arising from different attitudes and decision rules of the involved actors were investigated. As the basic spatial unit, the first strategy employed a landscape unit, i.e. lake catchment whereas the second strategy used an administrative unit, i.e. commune. Both strategies resulted in different land use/cover patterns and changes, which were evaluated in terms of sustainability policy. The main conclusion for Strategy 1 is that during 5 years of farmer’s participation in the agri-environmental program, there was significant decrease of nutrient leaching to the lake. The main conclusion for Strategy 2 should be stated that cooperating of the agents is better for the natural environment than the competitions between them. In both strategies, agents’ decisions influence the environment but different spatial units of analysis express this environment.
Various factors influence the spatial and temporal patterns of land cover and land use in lakeland landscapes. Land use/cover change (LUCC) is one of the crucial factors influencing both natural processes that occur in lakelands and lakes and anthropogenic processes, which intensify these changes. Therefore, LUCC at a local and regional scale may be treated as an important geoindicator for the functioning of the lakeland landscape. Nowadays, LUCC mostly depends on different human decisions. In the existing literature, the consequences of negative changes have already been widely recognized. Conversely, in this paper, we focus on the possible positive effects of LUCC. To that end, we built an agent-based model to show how selected human decisions may positively influence lakeland landscapes and lakes. We apply the model to the Gniezno Lakeland, Poland. Based on the environmental decisions of farmers, the model demonstrates how the LUCC pattern may change in time and space and how those changes may influence freshwater quality in four individual lake catchments of the Gniezno Lakeland.