System Dynamics Model to Design Effective Policy Strategies Aiming at Fostering the Adoption of Conservation Agriculture Practices in Sicily

F. Varia, G. Dara Guccione, D. Macaluso, D. Marandola
2017 Chemical Engineering Transactions  
This paper presents a study based on System Dynamics Approach (SDA) whose aim is to support policy and decision makers to design effective policy strategies to foster the adoption of conservation agriculture practices in Sicily. The SDA is a methodological tool that can be used to study and manage complex and dynamic systems characterized by feedback mechanisms, which can be relevantly influenced by the policy&decision-making process and its delays. The SDA may help to define, implement and
more » ... uate decision makers choices from the output of systems to stimulations from the outside. Scientific literature provides important experiences in the field of these simulation models, both for the development of ecological agriculture and for the simulation of the impacts of policy scenarios in a certain region/area. Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a farming system, mainly for arable crops, which helps to achieve goals of sustainable and profitable agriculture. It is currently playing an ever-increasing role in the frame of EU agricultural policies in consideration of the positive impacts it can produce, in terms of sustainable use of natural resources as well as of Climate Change mitigation and adaptation. At farm level, moreover, CA represents a way to combine environmental and sustainability concerns with profitability and competitiveness aspects, in a variety of agroecological zones and farming conditions. Short-term solutions and immediate benefits always attract farmers more than long-term ones. Unfortunately, the full technical, environmental and economic advantages provided by the adoption of CA can be measured and appreciated by farmers only in the medium and long-term, when its principles (minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover crop rotation) are well established within the farming system. This evidence, together with other technical, social and cultural forces, relevantly affects the process of CA adoption at farm level as well as the effectiveness of agricultural policy efforts aiming at this result [...]
doi:10.3303/cet1758128 doaj:c19c1e415afd48a987716b2b33a39995 fatcat:owcydl6snfdvvngeqclg4gt6t4