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Assessing the sustainability of wheat-based cropping systems using simulation modelling: sustainability

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Moeller, C., Sauerborn, J., de Voil, P., Manschadi, A. M., Pala, M. and Meinke, H. (2014) Assessing the sustainability of wheat-based cropping systems using simulation modelling: sustainability. Sustainability Science, 9 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1862-4065; 1862-4057

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11625-013-0228-2


Concepts of agricultural sustainability and possible roles of simulation modelling for characterising sustainability were explored by conducting, and reflecting on, a sustainability assessment of rain-fed wheat-based systems in the Middle East and North Africa region. We designed a goal-oriented, model-based framework using the cropping systems model Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM). For the assessment, valid (rather than true or false) sustainability goals and indicators were identified for the target system. System-specific vagueness was depicted in sustainability polygons-a system property derived from highly quantitative data-and denoted using descriptive quantifiers. Diagnostic evaluations of alternative tillage practices demonstrated the utility of the framework to quantify key bio-physical and chemical constraints to sustainability. Here, we argue that sustainability is a vague, emergent system property of often wicked complexity that arises out of more fundamental elements and processes. A 'wicked concept of sustainability' acknowledges the breadth of the human experience of sustainability, which cannot be internalised in a model. To achieve socially desirable sustainability goals, our model-based approach can inform reflective evaluation processes that connect with the needs and values of agricultural decision-makers. Hence, it can help to frame meaningful discussions, from which actions might emerge.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Plant culture > Field crops > Wheat
Science > Statistics > Simulation modelling
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Live Archive:19 Aug 2014 03:01
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:49

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