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Group-based crop change planning: Application of SmartScape™ spatial decision support system for resolving conflicts

Amin Tayyebi, Jamal J. Arsanjani, Amir H. Tayyebi, Hichem Omrani and Hossein S. Moghadam

Ecological Modelling, 2016, vol. 333, issue C, 92-100

Abstract: Agricultural changes are complex and managing an appropriate type of crop change to satisfy stakeholders with various interests is challenging. Decisions regarding a crop change need to be debated among multiple stakeholders with various conflicting viewpoints. Two kinds of conflicts might occur as a result of crop change in an agricultural landscape: (1) conflicts among multiple ecosystem services i.e., internal conflicts and (2) conflicts among multiple stakeholders i.e., external conflicts. While a spatial decision support system (SDSS) can provide answers concerning multifaceted problems, there are currently a few SDSSs that indicate the trade-offs among multiple ecosystem services as a result of crop change and also enable stakeholders with diverse preferences to arrive at group-based decisions. In this study, we held a series of meetings with stakeholders, who were experts in economics, energy, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emission, surface water, and biodiversity, to develop two crop change scenarios by replacing perennial energy crops with annual energy crops and vice versa. We then used an online SDSS, SmartScape™, and applied it to Dane county, Wisconsin, U.S. to (1) run the two aforementioned crop change scenarios separately in order to assess how effectively SmartScape™ enables decision makers to resolve internal conflicts while considering the relative values of multiple ecosystem services, and (2) run the two crop change scenarios jointly to show how well SmartScape™ enables decision makers to resolve external conflicts in a group while taking into account the diverse goals of stakeholders. The outcomes of this study can inform policy-makers about both internal conflicts within a crop change scenario and external conflicts among stakeholders and provide a unique framework to resolve both types of conflict in an effective way. Obtaining acceptable crop change solutions among stakeholders with conflicting interests can lead us in moving from individual decision-making to group-based decision-making so that we can enhance sustainability in agricultural landscapes.

Keywords: SmartScape™; Internal and external conflicts; Crop change scenario; Ecosystem services trade-off; Group-based decision-making (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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