Learning from biophysical heterogeneity: inductive use of case studies for maize cropping systems in Central America

A.D. Hartkamp

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<font size="4"><p>Global society has become conscious that efforts towards securing food production will only be successful if agricultural production increases are obtained through mechanisms that ensure active regeneration of the natural resource base. Production options should be targeted in the sense of that their suitability to improve agricultural production and maintain natural resources is evaluated prior to their introduction. Biophysical targeting evaluates production options as a function of the spatial and temporal variability of climate conditions, in interaction with soil, crop characteristics and agronomic management strategies. This thesis contributes to the development of a system-based methodology for biophysical targeting. Cropping system simulation and weather generator tools are interfaced to geographical information systems. Inductive use of two case studies - a green manure cover crop and reduced tillage with residue management - helped to develop the methodology. Insight is gained into the regional potential for and the soil and climate conditions under which successful introduction of these production options may be achieved. The resulting information supports regional stakeholders involved in agriculture in their analysis and discussion, negotiation and decision-making concerning where to implement production systems. This process can improve the supply of appropriate agricultural production practices that enhance production and conserve soil and water resources.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Rabbinge, R., Promotor, External person
  • Rossing, Walter, Promotor
  • van Ittersum, Martin, Promotor
Award date3 Jun 2002
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058086563
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • cropping systems
  • geographical information systems
  • weather data
  • simulation models
  • systems analysis
  • resource management
  • decision making
  • green manures
  • fodder legumes
  • mucuna pruriens
  • fallow systems
  • maize
  • zea mays
  • honduras
  • mexico
  • agroecology
  • decision support systems


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