Landscape Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 1679–1690 | Cite as

Issues and challenges in landscape models for agriculture: from the representation of agroecosystems to the design of management strategies

  • Sylvain PoggiEmail author
  • Julien Papaïx
  • Claire Lavigne
  • Frédérique Angevin
  • Florence Le Ber
  • Nicolas Parisey
  • Benoît Ricci
  • Fabrice Vinatier
  • Julie Wohlfahrt



Agroecosystems produce food and many other services that are crucial for human well-being. Given the scales at which the processes underlying these services take place, agricultural landscapes appear as appropriate spatial units for their evaluation and management. The design of sustainable agricultural landscapes that value these services has thus become a pressing issue but faces major challenges stemming from the diversity of processes, their interactions and the number of scales at stake. Agricultural landscape modelling can provide a key contribution to this design but must still overcome several difficulties to offer reliable tools for decision makers.


Our study aimed at shedding light on the main scientific and technical difficulties that make the building of landscape models that may efficiently inform decision-makers a complex task, as well as translating them in terms of challenges that can be further investigated and discussed.


We examine current issues and challenges and indicate future research needs to overcome the scientific and technical obstacles in the development of useful agricultural landscape models.


We highlight research perspectives to better couple landscape patterns and process models and account for feedbacks, integrate the decisions of multiple stakeholders, consider the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of data and processes, explore alternative landscape organisations and assess multiobjective performance.


Coping with the issues and challenges discussed in this paper should improve our understanding of agroecosystems and give rise to new hypotheses, thereby informing future research.


Agroecosystem Sustainability Management strategies Stakeholder decisions Simulation models Spatial heterogeneity Inference 



Support was provided by the PAYOTE scientific network, which is funded by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). Authors are grateful to many colleagues for fruitful discussions which contributed to this paper. We thank anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IGEPP, INRA, AgroCampus OuestLe RheuFrance
  2. 2.BioSP, INRAAvignonFrance
  3. 3.PSH, INRAAvignonFrance
  4. 4.Eco-Innov, INRAThiverval-GrignonFrance
  5. 5.ICube, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ENGEESIllkirch-GraffenstadenFrance
  6. 6.Agroécologie, AgroSup Dijon, INRA, Université Bourgogne Franche-ComtéDijonFrance
  7. 7.LISAH, Université Montpellier, INRA, IRD, Montpellier SupAgroMontpellierFrance
  8. 8.SAD ASTER, INRAMirecourtFrance

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