The aim of this research is to develop a multi-trophic model to simulate energy-matter fluxes dynamics within socio-ecological systems represented by agro-pastoral community, including livestock, crops and the environments conditioning their growth and productivity. A second component of the modelling approach is devoted to determine optimal strategies of natural resources exploitation that maximizes a societal objective function within the constraints given by the agro-pastoral system dynamics.
The model considered is a three-trophic model composed by pasture and crops, herbivores and humans. It was necessary to model differently pasture and crops and consider the competition between the two activities for the land use point of view. The consideration of two different types of primary productivity makes the model more complicated. The consideration of crops was fundamental because the large majority of the pastoral communities and now based on a mixed system of production in which the maintenance is guaranteed by both crop production, mainly horticulture and farm animal.
The model contains three control parameters to be managed in order to maximize social welfare: the demand of plants by humans, the demand of herbivores by humans and the humans consumption, that is the human biomass used for activities that do not directly contribute to the growth. The management of these quantities allows the planning of land policies to reach a social welfare.
The proposed trophic web model has been applied to simulate the social-ecological system dynamics of the Luke agro-pastoral community.
The project has 3 partners:
YEHA Natural Resource Management Institute di Addis Abeba; Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (former Department of Protection of Agro-food and Urban systems and Valorisation of Biodiversities), Milano University, and IMATI (coordinator).