|Heilman, Philip - Phil|
Submitted to: Multiobjective Decision Support System Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/23/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The purpose of the paper is to provide a basis for identifying the best conservation management system alternatives in tepetate lands in central Mexico that maximize crop productivity, enhance water quality, and minimize the rate of soil erosion at a minimum cost applying the USDA-ARS Multiple-Objective Decision Support System. Three soil conservation management systems were evaluated based on four decision criteria. The three conservation systems are: contour row farming, narrow-base and bench terraces. The four decision criteria are: crop yield, total cost of terrace construction, sediment yield, and runoff. The best alternative is the contour row since its composite average score is the highest among the other two alternatives. The application of the DSS to tepetate lands has revealed problems which will probably be common to many application of multi-objective decision support technology in developing countries.
Technical Abstract: The central region of Mexico contains areas in which the topsoil has been severely eroded. The exposed subsoil in these areas is characterized by bare and hard surfaces locally named Tepetates. In completely exposed soils, the average annual rate of erosion is approximately 6 ton/ha which contributes to the detriment of water quality and loss of storage capacity in reservoirs in the area. Reclamation of Tepetate lands for agriculture has been established as one alternative to help meet the demand for food production in that region of Mexico. The USDA-ARS in Tucson has developed a prototype Decision Support System (DSS) with a multi-objective framework. The prototype Decision Support System is applied in Texcoco, Mexico to evaluate crop productivity of maize in Tepetate lands using straight row farming, contour row farming, narrow-base terraces, and bench terraces as management systems. The decision variables selected to evaluate the management systems are crop yield, total cost of terrace construction, sediment yield, and runoff. The application of the DSS in selecting conservation management systems in tepetate lands in Mexico provided an improved basis for decision making and revealed problems which will probably be common to many applications of multi- objective decision support technology in developing countries.