Applying organic waste on farmland is a promising practice to increase soil quality to save on resources and to decrease GHG emissions while increasing carbon sequestration. Whether or not this potential is actually realized depends on many factors.
One set of factors relates to the processes that occur within the soil; the other to the socio-economic environment in which farmers make their management decisions. Given the many interactions and feedbacks among actors and factors, an integrated approach is required that captures the complexity of the system. Hereto, we propose to develop and integrate a spatial agent-based model with a sophisticated soil-carbon-and-nutrient-cycling model.
The agent-based model allows exploration of self-organizing networks of suppliers and users, based on decisions made by the individual agents. It captures heterogeneity among farmers, interactions between farmers (e.g. information sharing), and larger scale feedbacks (e.g. agglomeration benefits, discourses). The field-scale carbon-and-nutrient-cycling model assesses how and when the applied organic waste will improve soil physical and chemical properties and turn into benefits for the agents. By integrating these hitherto unconnected scientific fields, we can -for the first time- quantitatively assess the crucial interactions between the agro-ecological and societal domain. Through this integration, we create a virtual laboratory that reflects real-world situations in which we can evaluate various policy options for stimulating organic waste applications, while taking account of the temporal dimensions at which these interactions occur.
others scientific members:
Maaike Happel, Dr. Alena Schmidt, Dr. Martha Bakker (Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning, Wageningen University)
Prof. Dr. W. de Vries (Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University)
Dirk-Jan Kok (Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University)
Dr. Laura Scherer (Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University)
Prof. Dr. P.M. van Bodegom (Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University)