Introduction

The Tradeoff Analysis aims to analyze the potential impacts of different policy instruments and technological changes in close interaction with stakeholders. It evaluates to which state the agricultural sector moves within the window of opportunities. In other words, it is a policy decision support system designed to quantify tradeoffs between key sustainability indicators under alternative policy and technology scenarios. The results are presented in the form of tradeoff curves that are intuitive and easy-to-understand for policy makers using the economic principle of opportunity cost. These tradeoff curves allow for the actual quantification of the sustainability concept. The tradeoff analysis model is based on econometric production models estimated on observed behavior of the population of farmers. As a result its predictive power is much higher than some of the explorative or projective models. At the same time we have to realize that it its time horizon is also relatively limited. Its application allows a subsequent analysis in which the changes of policy interventions as well as technological changes influence agricultural land use and its impact on the environment.

The tradeoff analysis model plays a central role in the above assessment and links existing economic and bio-physical models and databases. The current version of the Tradeoff Analysis (TOA) model has links to:

The TOA economic simulation model

The DSSAT suite of crop growth simulation models (www.icasa.net/dssat/index.html).

LeachP and Pearl simulation models for pesticide leaching (www.pfmodels.org/links.html).

Models linking pesticide use and management with human health.

The Century model for Carbon sequestration (www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/century/).

The WEPP model for erosion estimation (soils.ecn.purdue.edu/~wepp/wepp.html).

The NUTMON toolbox for nutrient monitoring is planned (www.nutmon.org)

 

Requirements for the application of the Tradeoff Analysis model are listed on  the requirements page.

The philosophy underlying the Tradeoff Analysis Model is that of a useful approach to inform the policy decision making process with a sound scientific basis for quantifying tradeoffs that exist with alternative production systems, without attempting to value impacts for benefit-cost analysis. The valuation step is left to the policy and political processes.