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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OBJECT MODELING AND SCALING OF LANDSCAPE PROCESSES AND CONSERVATION EFFECTS IN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: Ecological Models: Agricultural Models

Authors
item ASCOUGH, JAMES
item AHUJA, LAJPAT
item MCMASTER, GREGORY
item MA, LIWANG
item Andales, Allan

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Ecology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 13, 2007
Publication Date: July 18, 2008
Citation: Ascough II, J.C., Ahuja, L.R., Mcmaster, G.S., Ma, L., Andales, A.A. 2008. Agricultural Models. In: Jorgensen, S.E., Faith, B.D.editors. Ecological Models. Vol. (1) Encyclopedia of Ecology., 5 vols. Oxford, Elsevier. p. 85-95.

Interpretive Summary: The agricultural research community is faced with a wide array of complex problems to solve. Continued population increases in developing countries require increased agricultural production, while agroecosystems are being stressed and negatively impacted by greater use of water and agrochemicals. Furthermore, agribusiness globalization is threatening the economic viability of traditional agroecosystems and climate change issues pose additional challenges to these systems as well. Understanding and solving these complex agronomic, ecological, and economic problems requires a systematic approach utilizing integration and quantification of knowledge at the whole-system level. Models of agroecosystems provide such a synthesis and quantification for evaluating the effects of management practices, crops, soils, water, and climate on sustainability of both agricultural production and the surrounding agroecosystem. In addition, agricultural models can serve as guides for planning and management, and help transfer new technologies to various location-specific conditions (e.g., climate, soils, cropping systems). In this chapter, the current state of agricultural models and their applications for the above purposes are reviewed and current technologies in agricultural model use are presented. Research needs and future challenges for agricultural system models are also discussed.

Technical Abstract: The agricultural research community is faced with a wide array of complex problems to solve. Continued population increases in developing countries require increased agricultural production, while agroecosystems are being stressed and negatively impacted by greater use of water and agrochemicals. Furthermore, agribusiness globalization is threatening the economic viability of traditional agroecosystems and climate change issues pose additional challenges to these systems as well. Understanding and solving these complex agronomic, ecological, and economic problems requires a systematic approach utilizing integration and quantification of knowledge at the whole-system level. Models of agroecosystems provide such a synthesis and quantification for evaluating the effects of management practices, crops, soils, water, and climate on sustainability of both agricultural production and the surrounding agroecosystem. In addition, agricultural models can serve as guides for planning and management, and help transfer new technologies to various location-specific conditions (e.g., climate, soils, cropping systems). In this chapter, the current state of agricultural models and their applications for the above purposes are reviewed and current technologies in agricultural model use are presented. Research needs and future challenges for agricultural system models are also discussed.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014