Lesson 3.2: Nitrate Directive

Application of the SEAMLESS-IF model chain to assess agro-environmental policies: Nitrate Directive in the Midi-Pyrenees region

Icône de l'outil pédagogique Authors
Hatem Belhouchette, Kamel Louhichi, Jacques Wery

Icône de l'outil pédagogique What do we mean by application?

An application in the SEAMLESS project is defined as a set of realistic scenarios, based on economic, policy and technological changes. The application is first defined by the scale at which the scenario is assessed (field, region, …). Secondly, several experiments can be developed by specifying, for each scenario, the external driving forces, the biophysical context and the policy parameters.

For this example, the Nitrate Directive is chosen to provide a first example of assessment at the farm and regional levels. The Nitrate Directive is an environmental measure designed to reduce water pollution by nitrate from agricultural sources and to prevent such pollution occurring in the future (91/676/EC).

The model chain CropSyst-FSSIM-Indicators was used (i.e. crop-soil model – farm model – indicators). The impact assessment at field level was done through the biophysical model CropSyst, used as a substitute for APES (Agricultural Production and Externalities Simulator), which is not yet operational for an application. The model-chain was used to compare a baseline scenario driven by the CAP (European Union Common Agricultural Policy) reform, and a policy scenario combining the CAP reform with the application of the Nitrate Directive based on the adoption of alternative crop management (Louihichi et al., 2008). More typical user’s problems that SEAMLES-IF is designed to address are developed in Belhouchette et al. (2007). Practical applications include (1) Green intensification at regional scale in animal-based farming systems (Auvergne), (2) Nitrate Directive at regional scale in crop based farming systems (Midi-Pyrenees), (3) Organic farming at regional scale (Midi-Pyrenees), (4) conservation agricultural at regional scale (Poland) and (5) WTO (World Trade Organization) and cotton policies in a LDC country (Least Developed Country; here Sikasso and Koutiala regions in Mali).

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