T7: Scaling up from farm to landscape
and multi-scale scenario analysis
of agricultural systems
by Bernard Hubert (Agropolis International, France), Marc Benoit
(INRA, France) and Martin van Ittersum (WUR, The Netherlands)
Tuesday September 8 - Morning
This morning session was built up with 7 oral presentations: an
opening one of 20 minutes, five of 10 and one of 5 (linked to a
poster). The first by Jean-Marc Blazy (Inra, France) presented an
structured framework for integrated analysis and design of agricultural
systems illustrated by case studies in a tropical island, the poster
concerned participatory scenarios development in Camargue (France),
the 5 others were presented by researchers from CIMMYT, Germany
and France. Most of them deal with the issue of multi-scale modeling
and designing farming systems, including crop-livestock systems.
Because of the hierarchical organization of agricultural landscapes,
the design of agricultural systems satisfying multiple objectives
relevant at different scales requires an explicit understanding
of the interrelationships between field, farm and territory scales
as well as to assess tradeoffs in sustainability goals. A form of
landscape agronomy is needed that goes beyond pursuing partial results
such as closing crop or animal yield gaps, to propend to resource
use efficiencies that emerge at scale (farm, landscape) as a result
of interactions between system components and spatial units at lower
integration levels. The efficiency at higher levels is more than
the sum of efficiencies at lower ones. Such a redesign at a territorial
scale raises methodological issues: who should design and how to
allow a sustainable and long-term change of local practices? Which
knowledge should be used? The very rich presentations gave some
answers to these questions.
Tuesday September 8 –
afternoon (Part 1)
The second part of T7 session included 4 oral presentations (15
minutes) and 3 short ones explaining their poster (5 minutes):
- Olivier Godinot ( Inra, France) showed us a very large scale topic:
indicators for the evaluation of nitrogen balance and efficiency
in the agricultural land for the 27 Member States of European Union,
- Chris Stoate (GWCT Allerton Project, United kingdom) presented
the scaling up processes from field and farm scale to landscape
scale for agricultural catchment strategies.
- In the same topic of water resources protection , Til Feike (Juilius
Kühn Institut, Germany) through integration of agricultural
and water policies for more sustainable crop production in Northwestern
- Focusing on another fragile resource, the soil and his conservation,
Perry Poulton (CSIRO, Australia) presented the use of photogrammetry
to minimize threats from broad scale resource developments on farmlands
and for farmers.
- The theme of crop-livestock farming systems was developed by Andrew
Smith (CSIRO, Australia) with a critical question: what levels of
integration result in different benefits?
The discussions allowed our session to point out
some common questions:
- How can we share experiences on evaluation of farming system efficiencies
(multiple goals) at diverse levels, farm, landscape, country?
- Are we able to design precise methods and not to forget their
ability to be shared to a large range of stakeholders: farmers,
of cause, but also catchment managers, policy makers…?
- The scenario topic was only the center of Pierre Chopin (Inra
France) poster on a modeling framework for designing/assessing agricultural
landscapes with scenario analysis. Why was this topic so little
mentioned in presentations and posters?
- Is crop-livestock farming systems the “new frontier”
for agronomists and mostly landscape agronomists when they focused
on sustainable development issues? The posters of (1) Tom Wassenaar
(CIRAD, France) and Mary Ollenburger (WUR, The Netherlands) enlarged
this challenge through (1) co-designing organic residue recycling
chains in off-balance regions, and (2) sustainable extensification
into Africa’s Sleeping Giant.
- Finally a question needed more information: how agronomists developed
methods to catch the emergent properties of higher levels than farms
in farming system research?
Tuesday September 8, afternoon (part 2)
session had to be re-arranged because unfortunately its keynote
was not able to make last minute. Most of the presentations focused
on assessing past and future dynamics of agricultural landscapes.
Dynamics of farming systems, crop rotations or crop sequences were
addressed with novel methods. The studies were focusing on case
studies in France and in West Africa. In addition, the session also
included a meta-analysis about yield gap analysis studies, presenting
the key factors that have been included in yield gap analyses across
the globe and how these explain yield gaps. That presentation also
provided an example of how new data collection techniques (crowd
sourcing) could assist in collecting information to explain yield