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Modelling environment and poverty factors for sustainable agriculture in the Three Gorges Reservoir Regions of China

Cheng, Xin, Shuai, Chuanmin, Liu, Jiali, Wang, Jing, Liu, Yue, Li, Wenjing, Shuai, Jing
Land degradation & development 2018 v.29 no.11 pp. 3940-3953
case studies, crop yield, decision making, dynamic models, education, erosion control, human diseases, infrastructure, issues and policy, pollution, poverty, prediction, sewage, sewage treatment, soil erosion, sustainable agriculture, China
Modelling is a good tool for understanding the complex interactions of the agricultural systems; however, few studies have used a combined method of text mining and system dynamics to analyse and simulate the agricultural system. We propose the topic modelling–system dynamics modelling (TM‐SDM) analytical framework to extract, synthesise, and dynamically simulate the factors of land management, disaster, pollution, and poverty in the system. Specifically, 1,598 English language publications were collected to analyse the main concerns and conceptual structure of the sustainable development in the case study area based on topic modelling. Historical data from 2000 to 2014 are used for simulation and prediction based on system dynamics modelling, exploring and comparing different policy scenarios. The results show that policies about education and training, sewage treatment, infrastructure construction, and soil erosion control would help poverty reduction significantly. Sewage treatment policy reduces the incidence of human disease and sewage discharge significantly. Education and training policy has the greatest impact on the improvement of poverty reduction and yield of crops, and the environmental protection scenario has the best performance on maintaining the cultivated land. The balanced development scenario benefits both the poverty reduction and environmental protection concurrently. Focussing on a systems approach to improve the sustainability of agriculture, this paper could have a positive impact on the development and implementation of sustainable agricultural systems. The TM‐SDM analysis and modelling framework that we proposed has a generic nature, which could be applied to the further research and decision‐making on sustainable agriculture and other fields involving complex systems.