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Describing and locating cropping systems on a regional scale

Abstract : At reginal scale issues such as diffuse pollution, wtare scarcity and location of cropping systems because agriculture interacts with many other activities. Although sustainable land use solutions for territorial development and natural resource management are needed, very few agro-environmental studies account for both the coherence and the spatial variability of cropping systems.The originality of this article is to review mehtods that describe and locate cropping systems within large areas. We mainly based our analysis on four case studies using the concept of cropping systems on a regional scale, but differing in their objectives and extents. We found that describing and locating cropping systems in space meets not only decision-making stakes but also a scientific stake that allows multi-simulations over large areas when models require cropping system information. Simulation models are indeed necessary when the study aims at estimating cropping system externalities. Then, the involved process determines the extent, and the model determines the support unit, unless socio-economic considerations prevail. In this case, as well as when no model is involved, it is often considerations related to stakehodlers that determine extent and support unit choices. On a regional scale, the cropping system must be only a few variables whose selection depends on the study objective and the involved processes. Collecting cropping system information for all support units is often simplified by identifying determining factors of cropping systems. However, obtaining deterministic relations between easily accessible factors and cropping system variables is not always possible, and sometime accessing modalities of determining factors for all support units is also difficult. We found that describing and locating cropping systems relied very much on expertise and detailed survey data. The development of land management practice monitoring would facilitate this description work.
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Delphine D. Burger-Leenhardt, Frédérique Angevin, Anne Biarnès, Nathalie N. Colbach, Catherine C. Mignolet. Describing and locating cropping systems on a regional scale. Sustainable agriculture, 2, Springer Netherlands, 992 p., 2011, 978-94-007-0393-3. ⟨10.1007/978-94-007-0394-0_6⟩. ⟨hal-02805903⟩



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