Applications of Systems Approaches at the Farm and Regional Levels
Systems approaches for agricultural development are needed to determine rational strategies for the role of agriculture in national development. Mathematical models and computer simulation provide objective tools for applying science to determine and evaluate options for resource management at field, farm and regional scales. However, these tools would not be fully utilizable without incorporating social and economic dimensions into their application. The second international symposium, Systems Approaches for Agricultural Development, held in Los Baños, 6-8 December 1995, fostered this link between the bio-physical sciences and the social sciences in the choice of keynote papers and oral presentations, a selection of which is included in this book. The book's contents further reflect how systems approaches have definitely moved beyond the research mode into the application mode. The large number and high quality of interdisciplinary research projects reported from different parts of the globe, to determine land use options that will meet multiple goals and yet sustain natural resource bases, is a key indicator of this `coming of age'. At the farm level, where trade-off decisions between processes and products (commodities) feature strongly, much progress is also evident in the development of systems-based tools for decision making. This book will be of particular interest to all agricultural scientists and planners, as well as students interested in multidisciplinary and holistic approaches for agricultural development.