Aims

The SEAMLESS integrated project aims at developing a computerized, integrated and working framework (SEAMLESS-IF) to assess and compare, ex-ante, alternative agricultural and environmental policy options, allowing:

  1. Analysis at the full range of scales (farm to EU and global), whilst focusing on the most important issues        emerging at each scale;

  2. Analysis of the environmental, economic and social contributions of a multifunctional agriculture towards sustainable rural development and rural viability;

  3. Analysis of a broad range of issues and agents of change, such as climate change, environmental policies, rural development options, effects of an enlarging EU, international competition and effects on developing countries.

 

The overall objective of the SEAMLESS project is to deliver such an integrated framework, with the following specific objectives:

  1. To develop and test a multi-perspective set of economic, social and environmental indicators of the sustainability and multifunctionality of systems, policies and innovations in agriculture and agroforestry, and to establish, as far as possible, threshold values for these indicators and/or to enable trade-off analysis.

  2. To provide quantitative and qualitative tools and databases for integrated evaluation of agricultural systems at multiple scales and for varying time horizons.

  3. To develop a software architecture that allows reusability of model and database components and knowledge, also ensuring transparency of models and procedures developed.

  4. To validate and demonstrate the applicability and reliability of SEAMLESS-IF in selected tests of its use.

  5. To promote participatory development and use of SEAMLESS-IF, including dissemination, knowledge transfer and training.

  6. In order to allow SEAMLESS-IF to be open for further developments, it needs to offer a generic and flexible structure.

SEAMLESS in a nutshell

In short, SEAMLESS-IF will facilitate translation of policy questions into alternative scenarios that can be assessed through a set of indicators that capture the key economic, environmental, social and institutional issues of the questions at stake. The indicators in turn are assessed using an intelligent linkage of quantitative models. These models have been designed to simulate aspects of agricultural systems at specific scales, i.e. point or field scale, farm, region, EU and world. Application of the models requires pan-European databases for environmental, economic and social issues. Some indicators, particularly social and institutional ones, will be assessed directly from data or via a post-model analysis.

The smooth linkage of models designed for different scales and from biophysical and economic domains requires software architecture, and a design and technical implementation of models that allows this. The software backbone of the project, SeamFrame, serves that purpose. SeamFrame is also developed to facilitate re-use, maintenance and documentation of models.

The project has been set up in response to a research and policy need formulated by the European Commission.