TRANSMED - ETUDES TRANSDICIPLINAIRES SUR L’AVENIR DE LA MEDITERRANEE

Adapting Landscape Mosaics of medIteranean Rainfed Agrosystems for a sustainable management of crop production, water and soil resources – ALMIRA

Adapting Landscape Mosaics of medIteranean Rainfed Agrosystems for a sustainable management of crop production, water and soil resources

Among a panel of possible scenarios for the evolution of landscape mosaics in Mediterranean rainfed agricultural systems, we aim at identifying those who are acceptable to stakeholders, and that establish a compromise on a set of ecosystem services: production of agricultural biomass, production of water in dams, and soil conservation by minimizing erosion.

Objectives and challenges

Mediterranean Rainfed Agrosystems (MRAs) provide various environmental and economic services of importance such as food production, preservation local knowhow, or downstream water delivery. These services have progression margins, thus making investments in such agrosystems highly profitable. In the meantime, expected climate change combined with demography and market pressures threaten MRA future abilities to satisfy the aforementioned services. <br /> <br />In the context of mitigating the pressures induced by global change, ALMIRA aims to explore the modulation of landscape mosaics within MRAs to optimize landscape services. Following recommendations from think-tank IAASTD (2008), significant advances are expected by reasoning spatial organizations of land uses and cropping systems. ALMIRA proposes a threefold conceptualization of landscape mosaics as i) networks of natural and anthropogenic elements that result from biophysical and socio-economic processes within a resource governance catchment, ii) structures that impact landscape fluxes from the agricultural field to the catchment extent, with consequences on the resulting functions and services, and iii) a possible lever for managing agricultural catchments by compromising on agricultural production and on preservation of soil and water resources. <br /> <br />To explore this new lever, ALMIRA proposes to design, implement and test a new Integrated Assessment Modelling approach that explicitly i) includes innovations and action means into prospective scenarii for landscape evolutions, and ii) addresses landscape mosaics and processes of interest from the agricultural field to the resource governance catchment. This requires tackling methodological challenges in relation to i) the design of spatially explicit landscape evolution scenarii, ii) the coupling of biophysical processes related to agricultural catchment hydrology, iii) the digital mapping of landscape properties and iv) the economic assessment of the landscape services.

ALMIRA is undertaken on three catchments that include i) one of the main vineyards in France, ii) an area of extensive mixed farming in Tunisia and iii) a grazing / cropland area in Morocco. These agrosystems are common within the Mediterranean Basin, they are economically important for the corresponding countries, and they are considered as threatened by expected global change.

WP1 aims to map the climate variables and the landscape properties that impact landscape functioning (TK 3.2 and 3.3) and drive farmer decisions (TK 2.1). It is organised into four tasks that involve climatology (TK 1.1), remote sensing (TK 1.2), spatial statistics (TK 1.3) and GIS technology (TK 1.4).

WP2 aims to develop evolution scenarii. This relies first on i) identifying the current land uses and the drivers of spatial distribution (TK 2.1), ii) developing a baseline scenario of mosaic evolution (TK 2.2) and iii) identifying possible changes in farming and land use practices (TK 2.3). TK 2.4 establishes contrasted scenarii of landscape evolution, with outputs from the three first tasks and from WP1.

WP3 aims to design and implement a fine resolution Integrated Hydrological Processes Model (IHPM) to simulate runoff, erosion and crop functioning. TK 3.1 focuses on the development of IHPM. TK 3.2 and 3.3 deal with the parametrisation of IHPM. TK 3.4 aims to i) obtain the IHPM simulations for the various scenarii and ii) rank scenarii based on landscape functions.

WP 4 aims to select evolutions scenarii that best compromise on landscape services, as estimated from economic valuations of WP3 simulations. Trade-off on landscape services includes impacts on agricultural systems (TK 4.1) and environmental services (TK 4.2). TK 4.3 identifies best scenarii and suggest instruments for their promotion. TK 4.4 synthesizes lessons learnt and derive general recommendations.

WP0 is devoted to scientific coordination and project organization. WP5 is devoted to disseminating the project outcomes.

Significant advances are expected by reasoning spatial organizations of land uses and cropping systems: identifying new action levers should result in innovative recommendations from a spatial organization perspective, but may also lead to revise former recommendations at the finer and coarser spatial scales.

For scientific communities, ALMIRA provides methodological advances and cognitive results about the functioning of Mediterranean Rainfed Agrosystems (MRA), including impact of cropping systems and of their spatial repartition. Beyond the disseminating of these outcomes through standards channels (papers, symposia), it is planned to organize special sessions in international congresses for sharing experiences and lessons learnt from ALMIRA.

For the think-tank networks that are involved in the preparation of future rounds of recommendations, the ALMIRA outcomes will provide valuable materials to be confronted against other emerging solutions. The ALMIRA result transfers will be achieved by inviting think-tank members to the ALMIRA main meetings.

For policy makers and stakeholders, addressing the intermediate scale of landscape mosaics is expected to provide more relevant diagnosis on the field- and farm- level innovations that have been formerly proposed. The result transfer is achieved through participatory workshops with local and regional actors.

For the local actors, the considerable amount of information to be gathered in the three studied catchments is exploited by technical institutes, and vulgarisation centres. This relies on existing collaborations with such structures.

For the student population, ALMIRA outcomes are valuable teaching materials when training future agricultural engineers and researchers. Project partners (IAV, INAT and LISAH) are already engaged and in their respective doctoral schools, as well as in “Mediterranean Office for Youth” program that aims to grant master students for helping PhD settlement and facilitate PhD exchanges.

Forthcoming

Forthcoming

Mediterranean Rainfed Agrosystems (MRAs) provide various environmental and economic services of importance such as food production, preservation of employment and local knowhow, downstream water delivery or mitigation of rural exodus. These services have progression margins, thus making investments in such agrosystems highly profitable. In the meantime, expected climate change combined with demography and market pressures threaten MRA future abilities to satisfy the aforementioned services.

In the context of mitigating the pressures induced by global change, ALMIRA aims to explore the modulation of landscape mosaics within MRAs to optimize landscape services. Following recommendations from think-tank IAASTD (2008), significant advances are expected by reasoning spatial organizations of land uses and cropping systems. ALMIRA proposes a threefold conceptualization of landscape mosaics as i) networks of natural and anthropogenic elements that result from biophysical and socio-economic processes within a resource governance catchment, ii) structures that impact landscape fluxes from the agricultural field to the catchment extent, with consequences on the resulting functions and services, and iii) a possible lever for managing agricultural catchments by compromising on agricultural production and on preservation of soil and water resources.

To explore this new lever, ALMIRA proposes to design, implement and test a new Integrated Assessment Modelling approach that explicitly i) includes innovations and action means into prospective scenarii for landscape evolutions, and ii) addresses landscape mosaics and processes of interest from the agricultural field to the resource governance catchment. This requires tackling methodological challenges in relation to i) the design of spatially explicit landscape evolution scenarii, ii) the coupling of biophysical processes related to agricultural catchment hydrology, iii) the digital mapping of landscape properties and iv) the economic assessment of the landscape services.

The new Integrated Assessment Modelling approach is implemented and tested within three catchments located in France, Morocco and Tunisia. Beyond the obtaining of significant advances in the aforementioned methodological domains, and the understanding of landscape functioning and services for the considered catchments, outcomes are expected to help in revisiting former recommendations at the levels of agricultural field and resource governance catchment, and in identifying new levers that improve MRA management at the intermediate level of landscape mosaics.

ALMIRA gathers French, Moroccan and Tunisian researchers involved in a large range of scientific disciplines: hydrology, physical geography, climatology, pedology, remote sensing, spatial statistics, agronomy, agro-economy, sociology, agricultural and environmental economy. One of the major challenges of the project is to make all these disciplines converging towards a reproducible transdisciplinary approach.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Frédéric JACOB (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) – frederic.jacob@supagro.inra.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

IRD (LISAH) Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
INRGREF Institut National de Recherche en Génie Rural Eaux et Forêts
IAV HASSAN II Institute of Agronomy & Veterinary Medicine Hassan II
IRMC Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain
INRA PACA INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE - Centre de Recherche PACA - AGROCLIM
BRGM Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières
SYSTEMES D'INFORMATION A REFERENCE SPATIALE
INAT Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie

Help of the ANR 599,603 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2013 - 48 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés

 

 

ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter