Model evaluation of consequences of agronomic practices for ecological processes and biodiversity

Research of the Farming Systems Ecology Group aims to provide scientific support for continuous and sustainable development of agro-ecosystems with special reference to organic agriculture and reduced use of external inputs in both the Netherlands and abroad. This is one of our research topics.

Brief description

In the last decade methodological tools have been developed for agricultural and environmental scenario-studies on the basis of existing knowledge on agro-ecological relations. These approaches can be used for generating (near) optimal land-use combinations, such as crop rotations in arable farming (Dogliotti 2003) and grassland use systems in dairy farming (Van de Ven 1996). The optimised goals (objectives) and limiting conditions (constraints) in these available model approaches can be of an agronomic, environmental and farm economic nature.

In this Postdoc project these modelling approaches are operationalised and expanded, in order to be applicable in the case study areas and to incorporate (spatially explicit) goals related to biodiversity and landscape ecology. The operationalisation mainly concerns the design and implementation of a structured environment in which software compononents and data sources can be accessed and (re-) used in a rapid and integrated way (software architecture). Also paramaterisation of the case study areas is necessary. The available models will be adjusted for spatially explicit modelling and expanded with relations between agriculture, landscape structures (linear elements) and ecological processes (habitat qualities that determine species presence and survival). These extentions of existing models will enable the evaluation of biodiversity objectives within multiple goal optimalizations.


1. Modelling

  • Adjustment of ROT-models and Smart Farmer to make these applicable to the Dutch situation
  • Develop specially explicit variants of ROT- en GRASMOD-models
  • Extend ROT- en GRASMOD-models with habitat quality
  • First calculations with preliminary results or assumptions for ecological relations
  • Integrated optimalization of agriculture and landscape ecology
  • Evaluation of results with stakeholders in case study areas

2. Software quality and data management

  • Software architecture and quality plan for working with Technical Coefficient Generator
  • Integration of software en database components in architecture and management
  • Elaboration of databases for the project