Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Options to model the effects of tillage on N2O emissions at the global scale
Lutz, Femke ; Stoorvogel, Jetse J. ; Müller, Christoph - \ 2019
Ecological Modelling 392 (2019). - ISSN 0304-3800 - p. 212 - 225.
Agriculture - GHG emissions - Global ecosystem models - Mitigation - Soil management

Strategies on agricultural management can help to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the potential of agricultural management to reduce GHG emissions at the global scale is unclear. Global ecosystem models often lack sufficient detail in their representation of management, such as tillage. This paper explores whether and how tillage can be incorporated in global ecosystem models for the analysis of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. We identify the most important nitrogen processes in soils and their response to tillage. We review how these processes and tillage effects are described in field-scale models and evaluate whether they can be incorporated in the global-scale models while considering the data requirements for a global application. The most important processes are described in field-scale models and the basic data requirements can be met at the global scale. We therefore conclude that there is potential to incorporate tillage in global ecosystem models for the analysis of N2O emissions. There are several options for how the relevant processes can be incorporated into global ecosystem models, so that generally there is potential to study the effects of tillage on N2O emissions globally. Given the many interactions with other processes, modelers need to identify the modelling approaches that are consistent with their modelling framework and test these.

Nutrient losses to surface waters in Hai He basin : A case study of Guanting reservoir and Baiyangdian lake
Yang, Jing ; Strokal, Maryna ; Kroeze, Carolien ; Wang, Mengru ; Wang, Jingfei ; Wu, Yihong ; Bai, Zhaohai ; Ma, Lin - \ 2019
Agricultural Water Management 213 (2019). - ISSN 0378-3774 - p. 62 - 75.
Agriculture - Baiyangdian lake - Guanting reservoir - MARINA model - Scenarios - Water pollution

Hai He basin is located in the densely populated North China Plain that is providing food to more than 100 million people. The fast developing agriculture and urbanization in Hai He basin have resulted in discharging nutrient-rich wastewater into lakes and reservoirs, leading to eutrophication and water scarcity such as in Guanting reservoir and Baiyangdian lake. In this study we analyzed future trends in nutrient inputs into Guanting reservoir and Baiyangdian lake by applying the MARINA (Model to Assess River Inputs of Nutrients to seAs) model. We analyzed trends between 2012 and 2050 for a business-as-usual scenario (SSP3) and a scenario based on Current Environmental Policies (CEP). In addition, we assessed future impacts of two important events on river export of nutrients: the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in the Guanting basin (OLY scenario), and the development of Xiong'an in the Baiyangdian basin (URB scenario). Finally, we assumed implementation of advanced technologies to reduce nutrients in rivers (OLY+ and URB+). Our study has five main findings. First, nutrients in Guanting reservoir and Baiyangdian lake were mainly from agriculture in 2012. Second, nutrient export doubles between 2012 and 2050 in SSP3. Third, effective implementation of current environmental policies could reduce the future pollution to levels below that in 2012. Fourth, improved sewage systems associated with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games could not reduce nutrient pollution effectively in Guanting reservoir, indicating that reducing nutrient losses from agriculture may be more effective to improve water quality than urban waste water treatment. Fifth, urbanization in the Baiyangdian basin may increase river export of nutrients to the lake by 28-43% compared to the CEP scenario (URB scenario). Highly effective waste treatment is needed not only in Xiong'an but also in surrounding areas to ensure the availability of clean water (URB+ scenario). Our results could improve our understanding of nutrient management for specific lakes and reservoirs, and highly relevant for policy making for effective environmental policies.

Quantification of the contribution of nitrogen fertilization and crop harvesting to soil acidification in a wheat-maize double cropping system
Hao, Tianxiang ; Zhu, Qichao ; Zeng, Mufan ; Shen, Jianbo ; Shi, Xiaojun ; Liu, Xuejun ; Zhang, Fusuo ; Vries, Wim de - \ 2019
Plant and Soil 434 (2019)1-2. - ISSN 0032-079X - p. 167 - 184.
Acid neutralizing capacity - Agriculture - N fertilization - Soil acidification - Soil pH - Wheat maize

Background: Over fertilization with nitrogen (N) is considered the main driver of agricultural soil acidification in China. However, the contribution of this driver compared to other causes of soil acidification on intensive croplands has seldom been quantified under field conditions. Methods: We measured the fate of major nutrients, and calculated the related H+ production, based on the difference between inputs and leaching losses of those nutrients for a wheat-maize rotation system on a moderate acid silty clay loam soil in a two-year field experiment. Results: Topsoil pH decreased 0.3 units in the plots with conventional (current farmer practice) high N fertilization after two years, with a proton production of 13.1 keq H+ ha−1 yr.−1. No apparent changes in topsoil pH were observed in the plots without N application, in spite of a proton production of 4.7 keq H+ ha−1 yr.−1. Crop uptake was the primary driver of H+ production, followed by N transformation processes and HCO3 leaching in both plots. Conclusions: Nitrogen fertilization had a relative small direct impact on soil acidification due to a very limited nitrate leaching, induced by large N losses to air by denitrification in this specific moderately acid soil, whereas elevated base cation uptake by crops induced by N fertilization indirectly had a relative large impact.

FACCE JPI Implementation Plan 2018 - 2020
McKhann, Heather ; Kuzniar-van der Zee, Brenda - \ 2018
FACCE-JPI - 23 p.
FACCE JPI - Agriculture - Food Security - Climate Change
Exploring cooperative place-based approaches to restorative agriculture
Swagemakers, Paul ; Domínguez García, M.D. ; Milone, Pierluigi ; Ventura, Flaminia ; Wiskerke, Johannes S.C. - \ 2018
Journal of Rural Studies (2018). - ISSN 0743-0167
Agriculture - Governance - Place-based development - Stewardship - Sustainability transition

The modernisation of agriculture has been, and continues to be, the cause of an increasing disconnection between farming, nature, and society. This has given rise to a series of social, economic, and ecological crises in the food chain. Some farmers are responding to this by adjusting their land-use and farming practices so as to make their farms more sustainable. But such changes need to be aligned with the specificities of the local bio-physical environment and the logic of the political economic environment. This article highlights how cooperative approaches allow public and private regulatory systems to support ecological transitions. Through a theoretical lens on place-based and restorative farming practices it analyses and interprets three complementary cooperative approaches as possible starting points for the transition towards a more sustainable agri-food system. The case studies show how farmers cooperatives can be either linked to the environment and to public policies (and thus extrinsic product quality), or to the market (and intrinsic product quality), or a combination of both. These links provide competitive advantages to farmers, and enable them to increase income from farming. We then discuss the effectiveness of these forms of self-governance, and how cooperative approaches, if well organised and implemented and appropriately embedded, can empower farmers to further change and adapt their farming practices so as to restore and improve their endogenous resource base. The analysis shows that while they are place-specific they are far from locally/regionally-bounded and that their success (or failure) critically depends on their alignment with national, supra-national and global actants.

The potential roles of bio-economy in the transition to equitable, sustainable, post fossil-carbon societies : Findings from this virtual special issue
Ingrao, Carlo ; Bacenetti, Jacopo ; Bezama, Alberto ; Blok, Vincent ; Goglio, Pietro ; Koukios, Emmanuel G. ; Lindner, Marcus ; Nemecek, Thomas ; Siracusa, Valentina ; Zabaniotou, Anastasia ; Huisingh, Donald - \ 2018
Journal of Cleaner Production 204 (2018). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 471 - 488.
Agriculture - Bio-economy - Bioenergy - Biomass - Comprehensive review - Forestry

Bio-economy can be defined as an economy where renewable biomasses are produced and converted into value-added materials, chemicals, foods, feeds, fuels and energy: therefore, it represents one valid, reliable way to transition to equitable, sustainable, post fossil-carbon societies. For this reason, it is increasingly gaining attention by scientists and academics worldwide, as is supported by this special issue developed within the Journal of Cleaner Production and presented in this editorial article. This Virtual Special Issue (VSI) was designed to highlight the importance of academic research in documenting the multiple greening effects that bio-economy has in multiple societal sectors. Therefore, the editors are confident that it will help to create the platform to exchange and to enhance knowledge on the evolving bio-economy. In this context, this editorial was designed to provide an overview of the papers contained in this special issue and to highlight their contributions to the bio-economy within five main research themes: biomass, biomaterials and bioenergy; agriculture; forestry; production and packaging of foods and feeds; and miscellaneous applications. Based upon the analysis of this VSI's papers, the authors found that there is an urgent need for research on: meta-studies of cross-country/regional interventions, to assess which interventions are more effective; more effective harmonisation solutions of methodological approaches for bio-economy assessments; and finally more interdisciplinary collaboration among technical and social scientists to identify and address the relevant questions for the bio-economy and to exchange and involve academics with all actors of the “innovation pipeline” of the bio-economy.

A framework for priority-setting in climate smart agriculture research
Thornton, Philip K. ; Whitbread, Anthony ; Baedeker, Tobias ; Cairns, Jill ; Claessens, Lieven ; Baethgen, Walter ; Bunn, Christian ; Friedmann, Michael ; Giller, Ken E. ; Herrero, Mario ; Howden, Mark ; Kilcline, Kevin ; Nangia, Vinay ; Ramirez-Villegas, Julian ; Kumar, Shalander ; West, Paul C. ; Keating, Brian - \ 2018
Agricultural Systems 167 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 161 - 175.
Adaptation - Agriculture - Climate change - Mitigation - Research

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is widely promoted as an approach for reorienting agricultural development under the realities of climate change. Prioritising research-for-development activities is crucial, given the need to utilise scarce resources as effectively as possible. However, no framework exists for assessing and comparing different CSA research investments. Several aspects make it challenging to prioritise CSA research, including its multi-dimensional nature (productivity, adaptation and mitigation), the uncertainty surrounding many climate impacts, and the scale and temporal dependencies that may affect the benefits and costs of CSA adoption. Here we propose a framework for prioritising agricultural research investments across scales and review different approaches to setting priorities among agricultural research projects. Many priority-setting case studies address the short- to medium-term and at relatively local scales. We suggest that a mix of actions that span spatial and temporal time scales is needed to be adaptive to a changing climate, address immediate problems and create enabling conditions for enduring change.

A research challenge vision regarding management of agricultural waste in a circular bio-based economy
Gontard, Nathalie ; Sonesson, Ulf ; Birkved, Morten ; Majone, Mauro ; Bolzonella, David ; Celli, Annamaria ; Angellier-Coussy, Hélène ; Jang, Guang Way ; Verniquet, Anne ; Broeze, Jan ; Schaer, Burkhard ; Batista, Ana Paula ; Sebok, András - \ 2018
Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 48 (2018)6. - ISSN 1064-3389 - p. 614 - 654.
Agriculture - bio-based materials - biogas - circular economy - eco-design - waste

Agricultural waste is a huge pool of untapped biomass resources that may even represent economic and environmental burdens. They can be converted into bioenergy and bio-based products by cascading conversion processes, within circular economy, and should be considered residual resources. Major challenges are discussed from a transdisciplinary perspective, focused on Europe situation. Environmental and economic consequences of agricultural residue management chains are difficult to assess due to their complexity, seasonality and regionality. Designing multi-criteria decision support tools, applicable at an early-stage of research, is discussed. Improvement of Anaerobic Digestion (AD), one of the most mature conversion technologies, is discussed from a technological point of view and waste feedstock geographical and seasonal variations. Using agricultural residual resources for producing high-value chemicals is a considerable challenge analysed here, taking into account innovative eco-efficient and cost-effective cascading conversion processes (bio-refinery concept). Moreover, the promotion of agricultural residues-based business is discussed through industrial ecology, to promote synergy, on a local basis, between different agricultural and industrial value chains. Finally, to facilitate a holistic approach and optimise materials and knowledge flows management, the connection of stakeholders is discussed to promote cross-sectorial collaboration and resource exchange at appropriate geographic scales.

Spaceborne Imaging Spectroscopy for Sustainable Agriculture : Contributions and Challenges
Hank, Tobias B. ; Berger, Katja ; Bach, Heike ; Clevers, Jan G.P.W. ; Gitelson, Anatoly ; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo ; Mauser, Wolfram - \ 2018
Surveys in Geophysics (2018). - ISSN 0169-3298
Agriculture - Biophysical and biochemical variables - Food security - Hyperspectral - Spaceborne imaging spectroscopy

Agriculture faces the challenge of providing food, fibre and energy from limited land resources to satisfy the changing needs of a growing world population. Global megatrends, e.g., climate change, influence environmental production factors; production and consumption thus must be continuously adjusted to maintain the producer–consumer-equilibrium in the global food system. While, in some parts of the world, smallholder farming still is the dominant form of agricultural production, the use of digital information for the highly efficient cultivation of large areas has become part of agricultural practice in developed countries. Thereby, the use of satellite data to support site-specific management is a major trend. Although the most prominent use of satellite technology in farming still is navigation, Earth Observation is increasingly applied. Some operational services have been established, which provide farmers with decision-supporting spatial information. These services have mostly been boosted by the increased availability of multispectral imagery from NASA and ESA, such as the Landsat or Copernicus programs, respectively. Using multispectral data has arrived in the agricultural commodity chain. Compared to multispectral data, spectrally continuous narrow-band sampling, often referred to as hyperspectral sensing, can potentially provide additional information and/or increased sampling accuracy. However, due to the lack of hyperspectral satellite systems with high spatial resolution, these advantages mostly are not yet used in practical farming. This paper summarizes where hyperspectral data provide additional value and information in an agricultural context. It lists the variables of interest and highlights the contribution of hyperspectral sensing for information-driven agriculture, preparing the application of future operational spaceborne hyperspectral missions.

Facilitating change for climate-smart agriculture through science-policy engagement
Dinesh, Dhanush ; Zougmore, Robert B. ; Vervoort, Joost ; Totin, Edmond ; Thornton, Phillip K. ; Solomon, Dawit ; Shirsath, Paresh B. ; Pede, Valerien O. ; Lopez Noriega, Isabel ; Läderach, Peter ; Körner, Jana ; Hegger, Dries ; Girvetz, Evan H. ; Friis, Anette E. ; Driessen, Peter P.J. ; Campbell, Bruce M. - \ 2018
Sustainability 10 (2018)8. - ISSN 2071-1050
Adaptation - Agricultural research for development - Agriculture - Climate change - Climate-smart agriculture - Food security - Mitigation - Science-policy engagement - Science-policy interface

Climate change impacts on agriculture have become evident, and threaten the achievement of global food security. On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself is a cause of climate change, and if actions are not taken, the sector might impede the achievement of global climate goals. Science-policy engagement efforts are crucial to ensure that scientific findings from agricultural research for development inform actions of governments, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international development partners, accelerating progress toward global goals. However, knowledge gaps on what works limit progress. In this paper, we analyzed 34 case studies of science-policy engagement efforts, drawn from six years of agricultural research for development efforts around climate-smart agriculture by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Based on lessons derived from these case studies, we critically assessed and refined the program theory of the CCAFS program, leading to a revised and improved program theory for science-policy engagement for agriculture research for development under climate change. This program theory offers a pragmatic pathway to enhance credibility, salience and legitimacy of research, which relies on engagement (participatory and demand-driven research processes), evidence (building scientific credibility while adopting an opportunistic and flexible approach) and outreach (effective communication and capacity building).

Seeing the forest, missing the field : Forests and agriculture in global climate change policy
Soto Golcher, Cinthia ; Arts, Bas ; Visseren-Hamakers, Ingrid - \ 2018
Land Use Policy 77 (2018). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 627 - 640.
Agenda setting - Agriculture - Climate change - Food - Framing - REDD+

As the climate change problem becomes more eminent, there is more pressure to increase efforts in all sectors and countries. The land-use sector is seen as an option to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and key in achieving a balance in GHG emissions and removals by sinks by 2050, as envisioned in the Paris Agreement. This article presents two comparative case studies within the climate change arena and aims to understand how and why: 1) tropical deforestation and forest degradation have secured a prominent place on the international climate change agenda, while 2) agriculture has not secured a prominent place. We use the agenda-setting multi-stream approach (MSA), while adding a framing layer. Based on primary data (including an international workshop with forest and agriculture experts, interviews, and participation in key international meetings), and secondary data, this article concludes that REDD + is an example of how a condition was framed as a problem, a viable proposal was developed, and political will and receptivity was shown, all of which placed REDD + high on the agenda, and generated its legal and methodological framework over the course of ten years. In these efforts, the role of policy entrepreneurs was key. Agriculture, on the other hand, is a more complex sector with multiple interests and millions of stakeholders. The consideration of agriculture, in particular its mitigation component, is therefore a highly contentious issue. The fear of new binding commitments and the potential threat to food security and production, and the lack of a convincing proposal that addresses the multiple values of agriculture has impeded substantive progress. Also, the absence of a committed policy entrepreneur limits the place of agriculture in the climate change agenda under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Evaluation of Climate Change Adaptation Alternatives for Smallholder Farmers in the Upper Blue-Nile Basin
Nigussie, Yalemzewd ; Werf, Edwin van der; Zhu, Xueqin ; Simane, Belay ; Ierland, Ekko C. van - \ 2018
Ecological Economics 151 (2018). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 142 - 150.
Adaptation - Agriculture - Climate change - Ethiopia - Multi-criteria analysis - Stakeholders

Climate change is expected to have severe negative impacts on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries. However, smallholder farmers and governments in these regions tend to be ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change. We present the results of a stakeholder-based multi-criteria analysis of climate change adaptation options for agriculture, natural resource management and water management in the upper Blue-Nile basin in Ethiopia. We use the PROMETHEE II outranking method to analyse data from a survey in which farmers and experts were asked to evaluate adaptation options based on potentially conflicting criteria. Adaptation options for soil and land management, such as crop rotation and composting, score high based on two sets of criteria for assessing adaptation options for agriculture. River diversion, preventing leaching and erosion, and drip irrigation are ranked highest as adaptation options for water management. Regarding natural resource management, the highest ranked adaptation options are afforestation, water retention and maximizing crop yield. Rankings by farmers and by experts are weakly correlated for agriculture and water management, and negatively correlated for natural resource management, which shows the importance of extension services and of involving farmers in the decision-making process to ensure the feasibility of adaptation options.

Agricultural land use change and associated driving forces over the past 180 years in two municipalities of the Brazilian Cerrado
Arruda, Murilo Rodrigues de; Slingerland, Maja ; Santos, José Zilton Lopes ; Giller, Ken E. - \ 2018
GeoJournal (2018). - ISSN 0343-2521 - p. 1 - 16.
Agriculture - Case study - Cattle - Cerrado - Crops - Sugarcane
This paper aims to test the hypothesis that a single driving force from the local, national, or global level is capable of triggering land use changes, including large scale deforestation, within a historical context. To reach this goal we describe and explain the driving forces from the global to farm level that have shaped agricultural land uses, as a case study, over 180 years in the municipalities of Quirinópolis and Gouvelândia in the Brazilian Cerrado. Through secondary data, field surveys, and interviews with farmers and other stakeholders involved with agricultural production, we identified four distinct periods in which drastic or little land use occurred. The evidence found supports our hypothesis. Two drastic land use changes occurred in Quirinópolis and Gouvelândia. The first one was the replacement of about 400,000 ha of original vegetation by pastures and crops between 1965 and 1985 triggered by the availability of abundant subsidized rural credits for farmers; the second one was initiated in 2005 with the replacement of 100,000 ha of pastures and cropping area by sugarcane, which was driven by the sudden domestic and world demand for sugar and ethanol.
Natural disasters and agricultural protection : A panel data analysis
Klomp, Jeroen ; Hoogezand, Barry - \ 2018
World Development 104 (2018). - ISSN 0305-750X - p. 404 - 417.
Agriculture - Natural disasters - Trade protection

We explore the impact of natural disasters on the degree of agricultural protection using data from 76 countries thereby covering more than 70 of the most traded agricultural commodities. Theoretically, the direction of this effect is not a priori directly clear as it balances the trade-off between protecting the economic interests of the domestic agricultural sector on the one hand and ensuring food availability for the society at large on the other. Our most important findings suggest that natural disasters generally raise agricultural trade controls to favor domestic farmers. These barriers are mainly provided by limiting imports in the aftermath of a natural event. However, the protection pattern differs among countries. To be more specific, floods and storms increase agricultural protection in high-income countries, while trade barriers in many LDCs are reduced during periods of extreme drought in an attempt to diminish food scarcity. Finally, it turns out that a large part of the change in agricultural protection caused by a natural disaster is explained by a number of commodity specific particularities (i.e., food vs. cash crops).

Marginal abatement cost curves for agricultural climate policy : State-of-the art, lessons learnt and future potential
Eory, Vera ; Pellerin, Sylvain ; Carmona Garcia, Gema ; Lehtonen, Heikki ; Licite, Ieva ; Mattila, Hanna ; Lund-Sørensen, Thøger ; Muldowney, John ; Popluga, Dina ; Strandmark, Lisbeth ; Schulte, Rogier - \ 2018
Journal of Cleaner Production 182 (2018). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 705 - 716.
Agriculture - Greenhouse gas emissions - Marginal abatement cost curves - Methodology
Combatting climate change has risen to the top of the international policy discourse. Effective governance necessitates the generation of concise information on the costs-effectiveness of policy instruments aimed at reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) approach is a framework commonly used to summarise information of potential mitigation effort, and can help in identifying the most cost-effective managerial and technological GHG mitigation options. Agriculture offers key opportunities to mitigate GHG emissions and utilise carbon (C) sink potentials. Therefore, a number of countries have developed national agricultural MACCs in the last decade. Whilst these MACCs have undoubtedly been catalysers for the information exchange between science and policy, they have also accentuated a range of constraints and limitations. In response, each of the scientific teams developed solutions in an attempt to address one or more of these limitations. These solutions represent ‘lessons learned’ which are invaluable for the development of future MACCs. To consolidate and harness this knowledge that has heretofore been dispersed across countries, this paper reviews the engineering agricultural MACCs developed in European countries. We collate the state-of-the-art, review the lessons learnt, and provide a more coherent framework for countries or research groups embarking on a trajectory to develop an agricultural MACC that assesses mitigations both within the farm gate and to the wider bioeconomy. We highlight the contemporary methodological developments, specifically on 1) the emergence of stratified MACCs; 2) accounting for soil carbon sequestration 3) accounting for upstream and downstream emissions; 4) the development of comprehensive cost-calculations; 5) accounting for environmental co-effects and 6) uncertainty analyses. We subsequently discuss how the mitigation potential summarised by MACCs can be incentivised in practice and how this mitigation can be captured in national inventories. We conclude that the main purpose of engineering MACCs is not necessarily the accurate prediction of the total abatement potential and associated costs, but rather the provision of a coherent forum for the complex discussions surrounding agricultural GHG mitigation, and to visualise opportunities and low-hanging fruit in a single graphic and manuscript.
Pathways for agriculture and forestry to contribute to terrestrial biodiversity conservation : A global scenario-study
Kok, Marcel T.J. ; Alkemade, Rob ; Bakkenes, Michel ; Eerdt, Martha van; Janse, Jan ; Mandryk, Maryia ; Kram, Tom ; Lazarova, Tanya ; Meijer, Johan ; Oorschot, Mark van; Westhoek, Henk ; Zagt, Roderick van der; Berg, Maurits van der; Esch, Stefan van der; Prins, Anne Gerdien ; Vuuren, Detlef P. van - \ 2018
Biological Conservation 221 (2018). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 137 - 150.
Agriculture - Biodiversity conservation - Forestry - Global scenarios - Sustainable development goals (SDGs) - Sustainable use
If the world stays on its current development path, the state of biodiversity will continue to decline. This is due to projected further increases in pressures, most prominently habitat loss and climate change. In order to reduce these pressures, biodiversity conservation and restoration, as well as sustainable resource use, needs to be an integral part of sustainable development strategies of primary production sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and energy. This paper presents a model-based analysis of three alternative pathways described as Global Technology, Decentralized Solutions and Consumption Change to conserve biodiversity. Each of these pathways pursues international biodiversity goals together with a broader set of environmental sustainability objectives, including feeding the world, universal access to modern energy, limiting climate change and controlling air pollution. We show that different combinations of bio-physical measures, ecosystem management changes and behavioural changes can globally substantially reduce biodiversity loss in the coming decades (avoided Mean Species Abundance (MSA) loss is 4.4–4.8% MSA, compared to 9.5% MSA loss in the Trend), although the types of biodiversity conserved in the pathways will be different. The agricultural and forestry sectors together have until 2010 globally caused almost 60% of the total reduction in terrestrial biodiversity in MSA terms and 55% of the expected loss up to 2050. We show that increased productivity by technological improvements, increased use of ecological methods in agriculture and forestry, and consumption changes help to avoid biodiversity loss by 3.1–3.5% MSA. In addition, combinations of pathways, taking into account specific regional contexts, might result in even larger reduction of biodiversity loss. The changes needed in the agricultural and forestry sector to achieve this go well beyond current efforts to reduce their impact on biodiversity.
Assessing yield and fertilizer response in heterogeneous smallholder fields with UAVs and satellites
Schut, Antonius G.T. ; Traore, Pierre C.S. ; Blaes, Xavier ; By, Rolf A. de - \ 2018
Field Crops Research 221 (2018). - ISSN 0378-4290 - p. 98 - 107.
Agriculture - Ground coverage - Smallholder landscapes - Spatial variability - UAV
Agricultural intensification and efficient use and targeting of fertilizer inputs on smallholder farms is key to sustainably improve food security. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how high-resolution satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) images can be used to assess the spatial variability of yield, and yield response to fertilizer. The study included 48 and 50 smallholder fields monitored during the 2014 and 2015 cropping seasons south-east of Koutiala (Mali), cropped with the five major crops grown in the area (cotton, maize, sorghum, millet and peanuts). Each field included up to five plots with different fertilizer applications and one plot with farmer practice. Fortnightly, in-situ in each field data were collected synchronous with UAV imaging using a Canon S110 NIR camera. A concurrent series of very high-resolution satellite images was procured and these images were used to mask out trees. For each plot, we calculated vegetation index means, medians and coefficients of variation. Cross-validated general linear models were used to assess the predictability of relative differences in crop yield and yield response to fertilizer, explicitly accounting for the effects of fertility treatments, between-field and within-field variabilities. Differences between fields accounted for a much larger component of variation than differences between fertilization treatments. Vegetation indices from UAV images strongly related to ground cover (R2 = 0.85), light interception (R2 = 0.79) and vegetation indices derived from satellite images (R2 values of about 0.8). Within-plot distributions of UAV-derived vegetation index values were negatively skewed, and within-plot variability of vegetation index values was negatively correlated with yield. Plots on shallow soils with poor growing conditions showed the largest within-plot variability. GLM models including UAV derived estimates of light interception explained up to 78% of the variation in crop yield and 74% of the variation in fertilizer response within a single field. These numbers dropped to about 45% of the variation in yield and about 48% of the variation in fertilizer response when lumping all fields of a given crop, with Q2 values of respectively 22 and 40% respectively when tested with a leave-field-out procedure. This indicates that remotely sensed imagery doesn't fully capture the influence of crop stress and management. Assessment of crop fertilizer responses with vegetation indices therefore needs a reference under similar management. Spatial variability in UAV-derived vegetation index values at the plot scale was significantly related to differences in yields and fertilizer responses. The strong relationships between light interception and ground cover indicate that combining vertical photographs or high-resolution remotely sensed vegetation indices with crop growth models allows to explicitly account for the spatial variability and will improve the accuracy of yield and crop production assessments, especially in heterogeneous smallholder conditions.
Diversity and nutrient balances of urban and peri-urban farms in Ethiopia
Tadesse, Solomon Tulu ; Oenema, Oene ; Beek, Christy van; Ocho, Fikre Lemessa - \ 2018
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 111 (2018)1. - ISSN 1385-1314 - p. 1 - 18.
Agriculture - Farm income - Farm management - Soil fertility - Urbanization
Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) is important for food security in fast growing cities of developing countries. UPA also may have an important role in nutrient re-cycling at the interface of rural and urban areas. However, little is known about this role and whether it is different for different UPA systems. Here, we report on diversity and nutrient balances of UPA systems in three main cities of Ethiopia. Data collected from 425 households (Addis Ababa: 175, Adama: 126 Jimma: 124) were subjected to categorical principal component analysis and cluster analysis to classify the households. Four farm types per city and overall six: commercial livestock (cLS), commercial vegetable crop (cVC), subsistence field crop (sFC), cLScVC, cLScVCsFC and sVCsFC were identified across the three cities. Two types, cLS and cLScVC were common to the three cities. The farm types differed in resource endowment, income, soil fertility management and nutrient balances. cLS systems accumulated 450, 85 and 260 kg N, P and K ha−1 year−1 and had 26% N and P and 15% K use efficiency, respectively while sFC systems depleted − 30 kg N and − 17 kg K ha−1 year−1 and had 155% N and > 100% K use efficiency. There was little exchange of manure and crop residue between LS, FC and VC systems. To use the potential role of UPA in nutrient re-cycling, a directive that imposes LS systems to distribute their surplus manure resources to proximate FC and VC systems and improve their nutrient use efficiency should be put in place.
Data synthesis methods for semantic segmentation in agriculture : A Capsicum annuum dataset
Barth, R. ; IJsselmuiden, J. ; Hemming, J. ; Henten, E.J. van - \ 2018
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 144 (2018). - ISSN 0168-1699 - p. 284 - 296.
3D modelling - Agriculture - Robotics - Semantic segmentation - Synthetic dataset

This paper provides synthesis methods for large-scale semantic image segmentation datasets of agricultural scenes with the objective to bridge the gap between state-of-the art computer vision performance and that of computer vision in the agricultural robotics domain. We propose a novel methodology to generate renders of random meshes of plants based on empirical measurements, including the automated generation per-pixel class and depth labels for multiple plant parts. A running example is given of Capsicum annuum (sweet or bell pepper) in a high-tech greenhouse. A synthetic dataset of 10,500 images was rendered through Blender, using scenes with 42 procedurally generated plant models with randomised plant parameters. These parameters were based on 21 empirically measured plant properties at 115 positions on 15 plant stems. Fruit models were obtained by 3D scanning and plant part textures were gathered photographically. As reference dataset for modelling and evaluate segmentation performance, 750 empirical images of 50 plants were collected in a greenhouse from multiple angles and distances using image acquisition hardware of a sweet pepper harvest robot prototype. We hypothesised high similarity between synthetic images and empirical images, which we showed by analysing and comparing both sets qualitatively and quantitatively. The sets and models are publicly released with the intention to allow performance comparisons between agricultural computer vision methods, to obtain feedback for modelling improvements and to gain further validations on usability of synthetic bootstrapping and empirical fine-tuning. Finally, we provide a brief perspective on our hypothesis that related synthetic dataset bootstrapping and empirical fine-tuning can be used for improved learning.

How the characteristics of innovations impact their adoption : An exploration of climate-smart agricultural innovations in South Africa
Senyolo, Mmapatla Precious ; Long, Thomas B. ; Blok, Vincent ; Omta, Onno - \ 2018
Journal of Cleaner Production 172 (2018). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 3825 - 3840.
Adoption - Agriculture - Climate-smart agriculture - Farmers - South Africa - Technological innovations
Climate change threatens agricultural production and the food security of developing countries in complex ways that demand environmentally friendly innovations. Climate-smart agriculture provides a response to climate change whilst enhancing livelihood of farmers. Climate-smart agricultural technological innovations at farm level have the potential to address climate-related challenges. However, inadequate adoption of these technologies remains a problem. This paper identifies available climate-smart agricultural technological innovations in South Africa and explores their characteristics and context of use using an exploratory research approach. An overview of climate change risks and variability in South Africa and a framework to classify the technological innovations is established based on a literature review. Interviews with expert stakeholders are used to characterise and collect information on available technologies. Results indicate that Conservation Agriculture, Rainwater Harvesting and Seed Varieties that are Drought Tolerant and Early Maturing may be the most suited technologies for climate-smart agriculture in South Africa, particularly for smallholder farmers. However, high initial investment costs, additional labour requirements and management intensity associated with conservation agriculture and rainwater harvesting may pose problems within the South African context. Drought Tolerant and Early Maturing Seed Varieties were noted as less costly and less management intensive, creating better prospects for adoption. This study serves as an initial assessment through the exploration of the available climate-smart agricultural technologies in South Africa. This is essential given that the agricultural sector is faced with the dilemma of responding to climate change related challenges whilst increasing the productivity of farmers.
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