Combining farmers' decision rules and landscape stochastic regularities for landscape modelling

Abstract : Landscape spatial organization (LSO) strongly impacts many environmental issues. Modelling agricultural landscapes and describing meaningful landscape patterns are thus regarded as key-issues for designing sustainable landscapes. Agricultural landscapes are mostly designed by farmers. Their decisions dealing with crop choices and crop allocation to land can be generic and result in landscape regularities, which determine LSO. This paper comes within the emerging discipline called "landscape agronomy", aiming at studying the organization of farming practices at the landscape scale. We here aim at articulating the farm and the landscape scales for landscape modelling. To do so, we develop an original approach consisting in the combination of two methods used separately so far: the identification of explicit farmer decision rules through on-farm surveys methods and the identification of landscape stochastic regularities through data-mining. We applied this approach to the Niort plain landscape in France. Results show that generic farmer decision rules dealing with sunflower or maize area and location within landscapes are consistent with spatiotemporal regularities identified at the landscape scale. It results in a segmentation of the landscape, based on both its spatial and temporal organization and partly explained by generic farmer decision rules. This consistency between results points out that the two modelling methods aid one another for land-use modelling at landscape scale and for understanding the driving forces of its spatial organization. Despite some remaining challenges, our study in landscape agronomy accounts for both spatial and temporal dimensions of crop allocation: it allows the drawing of new spatial patterns coherent with land-use dynamics at the landscape scale, which improves the links to the scale of ecological processes and therefore contributes to landscape ecology.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:47:51 PM
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Noémie Schaller, El Ghali Lazrak, Philippe Martin, Jean-Francois Mari, Christine Aubry, et al.. Combining farmers' decision rules and landscape stochastic regularities for landscape modelling. Landscape Ecology, Springer Verlag, 2012, 27 (3), pp.433-446. ⟨10.1007/s10980-011-9691-2⟩. ⟨hal-00656407⟩

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