Modeling The Co-Evolution of Natural, Economic and Governance Subsystems In Integrated Agri-Ecological Systems: Perspectives and Challenges
Ecological Complexity 40(2019)
Posted: 9 Jan 2023
Date Written: Oktober 04, 2019
Current agri-ecological systems face the twin challenge of providing sufficient food for a growing global population and of mitigating severe negative environmental impacts from agricultural land-use in terms of biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient run-off, soil degradation, and water pollution. Disciplinary research provides detailed answers to specific questions related to the challenges faced by agri-ecological systems. However, it fails to consider the complex interrelationships and dynamics of the different economic, natural and governance subsystems of which agri-ecological systems consist and that need to be considered to address these challenges. In principle, it is possible to develop models that integrate knowledge from the fields of ecology, economics and governance, and consider dynamic system features such as feedbacks between subsystems as well as tipping points. In this viewpoint article, we scrutinize selected integrated agri-ecological system models and find that only very few models address the challenges mentioned above. We suggest further research in three areas: (I) in-depth integration of the governance subsystem in integrated models, (II) more comprehensive inclusion of tipping points in integrated models, and (III) integration of cascading effects where one system change stimulates another system change. Finally, we briefly discuss the challenges of complex integrated modeling in relation to computational power and the necessity to gather expertise from different disciplines.
Keywords: Agri-ecological systems, Integrated modeling, Socio-ecological systems
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