COMPASS (Co-innovation and Modeling Platform for Agro-eco System Simulation)

"The COMPASS (Co-innovation and Modeling Platform for Agro-eco System Simulation) framework that integrates modeling tools at field, farm and landscape scales has been developed to support experiential learning and decision-making in participatory settings. The framework consists of a set of widely applied simulation, optimization and visualization tools that differ in their representation of social-ecological systems, and in the spatial and temporal dimensions addressed. Moreover, the architecture of the modeling framework allows rapid model development, reconfiguration and deployment.

The field-scale modules of COMPASS quantify effects of management of soil, crops, grasslands and semi-natural landscape elements, and comprise complete technology packages including crop choices and rotations and their management. Resulting indicators include e.g. crop yields, soil carbon and nutrient dynamics, water balances and soil erosion). Model outcomes at field scale can be aggregated to farm-scale modules, which may be spatially implicit or explicit, static or dynamic, and can use different optimization methods. Typical farm level indicators such as nutrient balances, productivity, and economic and environmental performance are quantified and their dynamics simulated). Indicators at landscape level may be derived from aggregation from field and farm scales indicators, or represent emerging properties that are only relevant at landscape level, such as the spatial coherence of landscape elements, or indicators of landscape quality. At the farm level farmers and their advisors are the main stakeholders, whereas at the landscape level a large range of stakeholders can be identified, such as cooperatives and governmental and non-governmental organizations. The diversity of farm types and styles is captured through functional typologies, while biophysical dynamics at higher scales can be explicitly coupled in COMPASS to socio-institutional dynamics represented in agent-based models.

In the COMPASS framework, we use heuristic optimization techniques such as evolutionary algorithms (EAs) with Pareto-optimality as a selection criterion and multicriteria methods to link supply and demand of ecosystem services. New farm and landscape management alternatives can be generated by changing resource management in existing solutions randomly, deliberately or by perturbation and recombination of existing alternatives. Each alternative is then evaluated in terms of the objectives that represent relevant ecosystem services. Evaluation may involve application of static or dynamic disciplinary models, pertain to one or several spatial and temporal scales, and can be carried out assuming stable conditions or uncertainty and environmental change. Methods to quantify indicators and the related data sources can be quite heterogeneous, ranging from survey, monitoring or experimental data, established empirical relations, or calibrated and validated computer simulation models, to expert knowledge and rules of thumb.

Some tools in the framework: - FarmDESIGN: farm level analysis of production, nutrient cycling, soils, economy, labour, biogas production, GHG emissions, human nutrition - Landscape IMAGES: spatially explicit exploration of tradeoffs and synergies - FuzzyDANCES: drawing and simulating fuzzy cognitive maps - Landscape DISPLAY: simulation of dispersal of organisms in landscapes - FarmSTEPS: spatio-temporal exploration of cropping plans - ActorIMAGES: a set of agent based models on Netlogo - ROTAT: rotation planning and evaluation for productive, environmental and economic performance.

Summary of uses: • Facilitating experiential learning and decision-making in participatory settings

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Additional Information

Field Value
Contributing organisations International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
Contact person Jeroen Groot
Alternate contact Katrien Descheemaker
Participatory approach / method to address complexity
Target audience
When in the project cycle is the tool useful
Contribution to gender research
Spatial scale
Levels of organizations taken into account
Source of data
Expected output of tool
Type of assessment
Tool manual/User guide Jeroen C.J. Groot, Wageningen University, Farming Systems Ecology group. Various scientific publications can be cited.
Citation Groot, J.C.J., Rossing, W.A.H., Jellema, A., Stobbelaar, D.J., Renting, H., Van Ittersum, M.K., 2007. Exploring multi-scale trade-offs between nature conservation, agricultural profits and landscape quality—A methodology to support discussions on land-use perspectives. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Multifunctionality of Agriculture: Tools and Methods for Impact Assessment and Valuation 120, 58–69. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2006.03.037