Ecological modelling of agroforestry systems


This review begins by considering three uses of models: to describe a system (descriptive models); to generate management recommendations (prescriptive models); and to predict system behaviour and the consequences of management actions (predictive models). Three types of predictive model are considered in more detail: those based on diagrams; those based on qualitative understanding; and those based on mathematical relationships. For the latter type, a representative set of agroforestry-relevant models are reviewed. The modelling elements that are used in their construction and alternatives to conventional programming for their implementation are then discussed. The problems faced in modelling agroforestry systems fall into three categories: gaps in knowledge about particular processes and relationships; deficiencies in how particular aspects of agroforestry systems are modelled; and deficiencies in the modelling environment within which models are constructed, used and communicated to others. The first of these topics was covered in an earlier review paper on ecological interactions in agroforestry. In this review, the deficiencies in modelling particular aspects of agroforestry systems are discussed, and then the shortcomings of current modelling environments are considered. Together, these two reviews provide the basis for the formulation of an integrated strategy for modelling and experimentation in agroforestry presented in a third paper


Agroforestry Abstracts (1993) 6 (4) 207-247

Ecological modelling of agroforestry systems

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