Integrative modelling approaches for analysis of impact of multifunctional agriculture: a review for France, Germany and The Netherlands

W.A.H. Rossing, P. Zander, E. Josien, J.C.J. Groot, B.C. Meyer, A. Knierim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews integrative modelling approaches which were developed to analyze the impact of multifunctional agriculture, or which may be used as such. The approaches are integrative in combining multiple goals of agriculture, and confronting these with current or potential performance of agricultural land-use systems at different spatial scales. The paper focuses on France, Germany and The Netherlands, countries with a track record in quantitative systems modelling, to identify convergence of concepts and technologies applicable to assessment of multifunctional agriculture and to establish shortcomings through analysis and comparison of 15 integrative modelling cases. An analytical framework for comparison is applied, based on a conceptual model of goal-oriented evaluation of agriculture. Results demonstrate unexpectedly large differences between countries in the number of integrative models; the nature of agro-ecological or bio-economic relations used, and target audience. Common elements were a focus on methodology development rather than answering questions of specific clients, limited attention for model evaluation and impact analysis, and an imbalanced attention for economic and abiotic environmental indicators at the expense of biotic, landscape and social indicators. None of the approaches specifically addressed multifunctionality of agriculture. In the discussion we argue that to be relevant research efforts aimed at supporting policy development for multifunctional agriculture cannot concentrate on filling gaps in knowledge and technology alone, but need to concern the process of utilization of knowledge as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • dutch dairy farms
  • land-use options
  • sustainable development
  • vegetable farms
  • south uruguay
  • environmental-impact
  • production systems
  • soil conservation
  • rural-development
  • crop rotations


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrative modelling approaches for analysis of impact of multifunctional agriculture: a review for France, Germany and The Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this