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Spatio-temporal modelling of crop co-existence in European agricultural landscapes

By M. S. Castellazzi


The environmental risk of growing genetically modified (GM) crops and particularly the spreading of GM genes to related non-GM crops is currently a concern in European agriculture. Because the risks of contamination are linked to the spatial and temporal arrangements of crops within the landscape, scenarios of crop arrangement are required to investigate the risks and potential coexistence measures. However, until recently, only manual methods were available to create scenarios. This thesis aims to provide a flexible referenced tool to create such scenarios. The model, called LandSFACTS, is a scientific research tool which allocates crops into fields, to meet user-defined crop spatio-temporal arrangements, using an empirical and statistical approach. The control of the crop arrangements is divided into two main sections: (i) the temporal arrangement of crops: encompassing crop rotations as transition matrices (specifically-developed methodology), temporal constraints (return period of crops, forbidden crop sequences), initial crops in fields regulated by temporal patterns (specifically-developed statistical analyses) and yearly crop proportions; and (ii) the spatial arrangements of crops: encompassing possible crops in fields, crop rotation in fields regulated by spatial patterns (specifically-developed statistical analyses), and spatial constraints (separation distances between crops). The limitations imposed by the model include the size of the smallest spatial and temporal unit: only one crop is allocated per field and per year. The model has been designed to be used by researchers with agronomic knowledge of the landscape. An assessment of the model did not lead to the detection of any significant flaws and therefore the model is considered valid for the stated specifications. Following this evaluation, the model is being used to fill incomplete datasets, build up and compare scenarios of crop allocations. Within the GM coexistence context, the model could provide useful support to investigate the impact of crop arrangement and potential coexistence measures on the risk of GM contamination of crops. More informed advice could therefore be provided to decision makers on the feasibility and efficiency of coexistence measures for GM cultivation

Topics: crop rotation, spatio-temporal modelling, crops in fields, crop arrangement
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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