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The landscape model: A model for exploring trade-offs between agricultural production and the environment

Coleman, Kevin, Muhammed, Shibu E., Milne, Alice E., Todman, Lindsay C., Dailey, A. Gordon, Glendining, Margaret J., Whitmore, Andrew P.
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.609 pp. 1483-1499
agricultural land, grain yield, landscapes, long term experiments, models, soil organic carbon, sustainable agriculture, water flow, watersheds, wheat
We describe a model framework that simulates spatial and temporal interactions in agricultural landscapes and that can be used to explore trade-offs between production and environment so helping to determine solutions to the problems of sustainable food production. Here we focus on models of agricultural production, water movement and nutrient flow in a landscape. We validate these models against data from two long-term experiments, (the first a continuous wheat experiment and the other a permanent grass-land experiment) and an experiment where water and nutrient flow are measured from isolated catchments. The model simulated wheat yield (RMSE 20.3–28.6%), grain N (RMSE 21.3–42.5%) and P (RMSE 20.2–29% excluding the nil N plots), and total soil organic carbon particularly well (RMSE3.1−13.8%), the simulations of water flow were also reasonable (RMSE 180.36 and 226.02%). We illustrate the use of our model framework to explore trade-offs between production and nutrient losses.