Section 0

Section 2 

Tradeoff Analysis: On-line course Senegal

Section 1 - Introduction to the tradeoff analysis 


Tradeoff analysis describes an agricultural system in an integrated manner. Tradeoff analysis allows users to quantify and visualize tradeoff relationships between key sustainability indicators under alternative land use scenarios.  A scenario analysis deals with the shift of the tradeoff curve as a result of technological changes, environmental degradation, or policy interventions.

Figure 1. Example of a tradeoff curve between production and environmental quality

The actual model application is part of a broader process. Tradeoff assessment provides an organizing principle and conceptual model for the design and organization of multi-disciplinary research projects to quantify and assess competing objectives in agricultural production systems. This process is illustrated in Figure 2. Input from stakeholders (i.e., the general public, policy makers and scientists) is used to identify the critical dimensions of social concern, i.e., criteria for assessment of the sustainability of the system. Based on these criteria, hypotheses are formulated as tradeoffs between possibly competing objectives, such as higher agricultural production and improved environmental quality. Once the key tradeoffs are identified, research team leaders can identify the appropriate scientific disciplines to further design and implement the research needed to quantify these tradeoffs. The next step, critical to quantifying tradeoffs, is the identification of disciplinary models and data needed to quantify each sustainability indicator. A key element at this stage is for all of the disciplines to agree upon basic spatial and temporal units of analysis, e.g. will analysis be conducted at the field scale or watershed scale and will time steps be daily, monthly, or yearly? Once these fundamental issues in research design have been resolved; data collection and disciplinary research can proceed. Upon completion of the disciplinary components of research, the respective data and models can be linked to test hypotheses about tradeoffs, and the findings can be presented to policy makers and the general public.

Figure 2. Tradeoff Analysis research design and implementation process

A general presentation on the objectives and the tradeoff analysis model  is presented here

Exercise 1.  Indicators - Tradeoffs - Scenarios 

This exercise is based on the millet-peanut system in the center of Senegal. In this exercise we will sit down in multi-disciplinary groups of 4-6 people. The key task for each group is to carry out the 'research priority setting' phase and define relevant indicators, describe hypothetical tradeoffs and discuss potential scenarios.

For the results of the group exercise click here.

Section 2