Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The eastern seaboard of the U.S. is a densely populated area that depends on the importation of distantly produced food to satisfy consumption demands. The agricultural systems supplying regions like this one are vulnerable to uncertainties such as environmental constraints, climate change, and fuel costs. Local populations could benefit from regional food systems as a way to provide security and sustain urban growth; however, the potential production capacity of the region would first need to be quantified. Potato production was assessed from Maine to Virginia over current land use (cultivated potato land) and based on two different water availability scenarios (rain-fed and irrigated) and evaluated at the county level with observed data from NASS censuses. Simulations were performed by combining an explanatory potato crop model (SPUDSIM) with spatial input data layers using a geographic information system (ArcGIS) and a Python-based scripting interface. The process-based model mechanistically predicts outcomes of crop production (i.e. crop yield, water use, and nitrogen uptake) based on spatially-derived input data (i.e. weather, soil, and management). The geospatial crop model simulated potential crop production over field-scale modeling units and aggregating results to the county level. The sensitivity of predicted productivity associated with site-specific climate and soils factors was also evaluated. The results provide information for regional policy planners on the capacity of local food systems by creating a response surface map of potential potato production, by identifying biophysical constraints due to the natural resource base, and by assessing potential opportunities for production.