Modeling

An integrative data and modeling platform will be developed within a Participatory Modeling Process (PMP). This platform will be used to generate plausible scenarios and envision a future in which agricultural and silvicultural production remain both economically viable and compatible with environmental regulations. These scenarios will be the integrating “language” of the project, translating environmental goals into economic outcomes, converting economic outcomes into societal acceptance (or rejection), and enabling discussion of how changes in policies and individual decisions might transform social priorities sufficiently to achieve this compatible future.

 

Schematic of integrative data and modeling framework

Schematic of integrative data and modeling framework

 

Farm- and Forest-Scale Modeling

SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool), DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer) and the 3PG forest model (Physiological Processes Predicting Growth) will be used to simulate yields and water and nutrient balances for agricultural crops and silvicuture grown in the region. . Simulated yields will be used in enterprise-level economic modeling to predict profits under simulated systems and strategies. Predicted profits will be used with predictions of irrigation water use and nutrient leaching to evaluate farm-scale economic-environmental tradeoffs across cropping systems, BMPs, and soil and climatic conditions.

Watershed-scale modeling

While field-scale models will provide valuable information about economic-environmental tradeoffs at the farm-forest scale, watershed-scale modeling is needed to quantify impacts on receiving waters. SWAT-MODFLOW will be used to aggregate impacts of alternative climate, land use, cropping system and BMP adoption scenarios on groundwater, spring water and river water quality and quantity at the watershed scale in the Santa Fe River Basin (SFRB) in Florida and the Lower Flint River Basin (LFRB) in Georgia. Both are ecologically sensitive, predominantly agricultural/silvicultural watersheds with land uses representative of the study region, and both are subject to stringent environmental regulations that are not currently being met. Thus, these watersheds will serve as valuable test-beds for addressing the challenge of meeting diverse, conflicting water needs while maintaining environmental quality.

Economic Modeling

IMPLAN software will be used to estimate the economic contributions of agriculture, forestry and supporting industries in the study region for alternative climate, land use, cropping system and BMP scenarios. Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay studies will evaluate whether future scenarios are feasible and socially acceptable and provide information to develop policy incentives.

Land-use change modeling

Land-use change is a critical driver of hydrologic and economic models. To simulate future land-use scenarios that may result from possible domestic (regional/national policy-driven) and international drivers (e.g. European Union demand for bioenergy), we will develop an integrated, dynamic, price-endogenous partial equilibrium model of forestry and agricultural sectors to investigate direct and indirect impacts of increasing demands for agricultural and forestry products and impacts of regulatory changes on land use Model outputs will include agricultural and forestry product prices and direct and induced land use changes.

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