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Assessing the sustainability of wheat-based cropping systems using simulation modelling: sustainability = 42?


Moeller, C and Sauerborn, J and de Voil, P and Manschadi, AM and Pala, M and Meinke, H, Assessing the sustainability of wheat-based cropping systems using simulation modelling: sustainability = 42?, Sustainability Science, 9, (1) pp. 1-16. ISSN 1862-4065 (2014) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Authors. Creative Commons Attribution Licence(CC BY)

DOI: doi: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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:APSIM, sustainability, wheat, Middle East and North Africa, region, sustainability concepts, tillage systems, human values, vague property, emergent property, wicked complexity, boundary work
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences
Research Field:Other agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable plant production
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable plant production not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Moeller, C (Dr Carina Moeller)
UTAS Author:Meinke, H (Professor Holger Meinke)
ID Code:84307
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2013-05-03
Last Modified:2017-11-08
Downloads:386 View Download Statistics

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