Comprehensive approaches integrating ecological and socio-economic objectives are fundamental pillars in the design of more sustainable agroecosystems. To this purpose, we formulated an optimization model aimed to support decisions behind the planning of agricultural ecosystems. We demonstrate the proposed approach onto the design agroecosystems aimed at the regeneration of deforested lands in the Peruvian Amazon to investigate how the different objectives influence the species composition and the overall sustainability performance. The model incorporates the three dimensions of sustainability into the optimization objectives, i.e., annual income (economic dimension), species diversity (environmental dimension), and income stability (social dimension). The obtained results show, firstly, relevant tradeoffs between the economic objective and the social and ecological ones, with significant reductions in short term incomes in the agroecosystems with the highest levels of diversity. Secondly, the species compositions changes over time depending on the life cycle of selected species and following ecological succession paths. Finally, species diversity also determines heterogeneous ecological structures, and these are jointly good premises for ecosystem multi-functionality. We highlighted major methodological challenges for the planning of more sustainable agroecosystems, which are mainly linked to the conflict and trade-off analysis, long-term assessment, non steady-state solutions, and lack of data. Despite these challenges, the formulated optimization framework can quantitatively support the understanding and the pursuing of both the ecological conservation and the productivity of agroecosystems, and put the basis for future more detailed models.

An optimization model for the planning of agroecosystems: Trading off socio-economic feasibility and biodiversity

Recanati, Francesca;Guariso, Giorgio
2018-01-01

Abstract

Comprehensive approaches integrating ecological and socio-economic objectives are fundamental pillars in the design of more sustainable agroecosystems. To this purpose, we formulated an optimization model aimed to support decisions behind the planning of agricultural ecosystems. We demonstrate the proposed approach onto the design agroecosystems aimed at the regeneration of deforested lands in the Peruvian Amazon to investigate how the different objectives influence the species composition and the overall sustainability performance. The model incorporates the three dimensions of sustainability into the optimization objectives, i.e., annual income (economic dimension), species diversity (environmental dimension), and income stability (social dimension). The obtained results show, firstly, relevant tradeoffs between the economic objective and the social and ecological ones, with significant reductions in short term incomes in the agroecosystems with the highest levels of diversity. Secondly, the species compositions changes over time depending on the life cycle of selected species and following ecological succession paths. Finally, species diversity also determines heterogeneous ecological structures, and these are jointly good premises for ecosystem multi-functionality. We highlighted major methodological challenges for the planning of more sustainable agroecosystems, which are mainly linked to the conflict and trade-off analysis, long-term assessment, non steady-state solutions, and lack of data. Despite these challenges, the formulated optimization framework can quantitatively support the understanding and the pursuing of both the ecological conservation and the productivity of agroecosystems, and put the basis for future more detailed models.
Tradeoff analysis, Agrobiodiversity, Diverse agroecosystems, Sustainable agriculture, Agroecosystem design
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1069050
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