The objective of this assessment was to investigate sustainability at the smallholder agro-ecosystem level. Agro-ecosystem sustainability was assessed in regard to yield, soil organic 4 carbon and nitrogen responses to a range of management practices and plausible climate scenarios.
The employment of a system, or framework, is deemed essential in assessing agro-ecosystem sustainability and in understanding the inter-relationships between social, economic and environmental influences that are associated with sustainability. A goal-orientated framework was adapted from von Wiren-Lehr’s (2001) goal-orientated system. This framework has been devised to answer the following questions: How can an actual agro-ecosystem be identified as being sustainable or not? What facets of a system make it sustainable? Are there research and operational implications associated with climate change?
Specific Options Mentioned
- Goal-oriented Framework of von Wiren-Lehr – p. 7
- CERES Maize Crop Model – p. 7-8, 10, 16
- Sensitivity Analysis – p. 8
- Conformal-Cubic Atmospheric Model (C-CAM) – p. 8
Walker, N. J., & Schulze, R. E. (2006). An assessment of sustainable maize production under different management and climate scenarios for smallholder agroecosystems in Kwazulu-natal, South Africa . Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 31(15-16), 995-1002/ . Retrieved from http://bscw.ihe.nl/pub/bscw.cgi/d2606661/Walker.pdf