A guide for choosing the most appropriate method for multi-criteria assessment of agricultural systems according to decision-makers’ expectations
Modern agriculture must meet new challenges such as production of healthy food, adaptation to climate change, protection of natural resources, and conservation of landscape. These challenges require changes in current agricultural systems and therefore, environmentally-friendly agricultural systems must be designed and their sustainability assessed. Over the past several years, various methods have been developed for making such assessments (e.g. the Balancing and Ranking Method, MEACROS, MODAM, the modelling framework of Pacini et al., ROTAT+FarmImages, MASC, and ROTOR) but few studies put forward simple solutions for selecting one method over another. In this paper, we propose a simple guide to distinguish methods one from another. Categories of the guide include the type of systems to assess, the spatial and temporal scales at which systems are assessed, the dimensions of sustainability for which systems are assessed, the type of visualisation for comparing options, the target users, and the ability to generate alternative systems. The guide was developed and tested with a group of farm advisors involved in a three-year project called RotAB, which aimed to assess the sustainability of organic arable farming systems: the advisors looked for a method for sustainability assessment of cropping systems. We presented seven recent assessment methods as well as the guide to advisors. The guide’s key points allowed them to clearly express their requirements: the method they looked for had to evaluate cropping systems and helped advisors to propose new ones; it had to evaluate multiple sustainability criteria that are easily understandable by farmers; indicators had to be scientifically based, without the need for many input data; the method had to be easy to use and produced graphical output that can be discussed with farmers. Finally, the guide helped advisors to choose one of the seven methods (in that case they chose MASC). This guide can help decision-makers distinguish assessment tools from one another using simple categories and choose the one best adapted to their expectations.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Blazy, Jean-Marc & Ozier-Lafontaine, Harry & Doré, Thierry & Thomas, Alban & Wery, Jacques, 2009. "A methodological framework that accounts for farm diversity in the prototyping of crop management systems. Application to banana-based systems in Guadeloupe," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 101(1-2), pages 30-41, June.
- Dogliotti, S. & van Ittersum, M.K. & Rossing, W.A.H., 2005. "A method for exploring sustainable development options at farm scale: a case study for vegetable farms in South Uruguay," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 29-51, October.
- Pacini, Cesare & Giesen, Gerard & Wossink, Ada & Omodei-Zorini, Luigi & Huirne, Ruud, 2004. "The EU's Agenda 2000 reform and the sustainability of organic farming in Tuscany: ecological-economic modelling at field and farm level," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 171-197, May.
- Bockstaller, C. & Girardin, P., 2003. "How to validate environmental indicators," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 639-653, May.
- Dorward, Peter & Galpin, Mark & Shepherd, Derek, 2003. "Participatory Farm Management methods for assessing the suitability of potential innovations. A case study on green manuring options for tomato producers in Ghana," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 97-117, January.
- Meyer-Aurich, Andreas, 2005. "Economic and environmental analysis of sustainable farming practices - a Bavarian case study," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 190-206, November.
- Lien, Gudbrand & Brian Hardaker, J. & Flaten, Ola, 2007. "Risk and economic sustainability of crop farming systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 541-552, May.
- Zander, P. & Kachele, H., 1999. "Modelling multiple objectives of land use for sustainable development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 311-325, March.
- Znidarsic, Martin & Bohanec, Marko & Zupan, Blaz, 2008. "Modelling impacts of cropping systems: Demands and solutions for DEX methodology," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 189(3), pages 594-608, September.
- Strassert, Gunter & Prato, Tony, 2002. "Selecting farming systems using a new multiple criteria decision model: the balancing and ranking method," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 269-277, February.
- Dogliotti, S. & Rossing, W. A. H. & van Ittersum, M. K., 2004. "Systematic design and evaluation of crop rotations enhancing soil conservation, soil fertility and farm income: a case study for vegetable farms in South Uruguay," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 277-302, June.
- Pandey, Sushil & Hardaker, J. Brian, 1995. "The role of modelling in the quest for sustainable farming systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 439-450.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:115:y:2013:i:c:p:51-62. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.