Publication

Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems: A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal

Alomia-Hinojosa, V., Groot, J. C. J., Speelman, E. N., Bettinelli, C., McDonald, A. J., Alvarez, S. & Tittonell, P., Mar-2020, In : Ecological indicators. 110, 11 p., 105883.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

APA

Alomia-Hinojosa, V., Groot, J. C. J., Speelman, E. N., Bettinelli, C., McDonald, A. J., Alvarez, S., & Tittonell, P. (2020). Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems: A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal. Ecological indicators, 110, [105883]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883

Author

Alomia-Hinojosa, Victoria ; Groot, Jeroen C. J. ; Speelman, Erika N. ; Bettinelli, Carlo ; McDonald, Andrew J. ; Alvarez, Stephanie ; Tittonell, Pablo. / Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems : A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal. In: Ecological indicators. 2020 ; Vol. 110.

Harvard

Alomia-Hinojosa, V, Groot, JCJ, Speelman, EN, Bettinelli, C, McDonald, AJ, Alvarez, S & Tittonell, P 2020, 'Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems: A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal', Ecological indicators, vol. 110, 105883. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883

Standard

Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems : A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal. / Alomia-Hinojosa, Victoria; Groot, Jeroen C. J.; Speelman, Erika N.; Bettinelli, Carlo; McDonald, Andrew J.; Alvarez, Stephanie; Tittonell, Pablo.

In: Ecological indicators, Vol. 110, 105883, 03.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Vancouver

Alomia-Hinojosa V, Groot JCJ, Speelman EN, Bettinelli C, McDonald AJ, Alvarez S et al. Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems: A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal. Ecological indicators. 2020 Mar;110. 105883. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883


BibTeX

@article{1fc689a50c154612af9d65fd002517f9,
title = "Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems: A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal",
abstract = "Nitrogen (N) is often the most limiting nutrient to productivity in smallholder mixed crop-livestock systems such as commonly found in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Identifying current bottlenecks constraining agroecosystem functioning in terms of N flows and associated improvement options in these systems is paramount. Here, we explore variations in robustness, a concept from ecological network analysis (ENA) which represents the balance of system's degree of order between organization (order/constraint) and adaptive flexibility (freedom/resilience) of N flows. Robustness can provide a detailed assessment of N flows and assist in evaluation of measures to reduce nutrient losses. In this study, the FarmDESIGN model was employed to quantify nitrogen flows, generate ENA indicators of integration, diversity and robustness, and to explore the impact of crop intensification options on N networks across farm types in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Results revealed that the farms in the different agroecosystems recycled only a small portion of the total N inputs ( <15%), and had therefore high rates of N losses (63-1135 kg N per ha per year) and high dependency on N imports in the form of fodder (feed self-reliance 11-43%). The farm N networks were organised (high productivity) but inflexible (poorly resilient) and consequently unbalanced (low robustness). Scenarios of improved management (improved seed, intercropping, use of fertilizers, better timing of activities) resulted in improved crop production, leading to reduced fodder imports and less N losses. Consequently, the N networks increased in flexibility which resulted in greater robustness of the N flow network in the farm systems. Increasing on-farm biomass production by improved farm management could be an important element on the way to sustainably intensify smallholder farms, especially when dependency on external resources can be reduced. We conclude that a detailed analysis of nutrient flows and their robustness is a suitable instrument for targeted improvement of nutrient use in smallholder crop-livestock systems.",
keywords = "Network analysis, Whole-farm model, Sustainability, Nitrogen cycling, Smallholder-farms, FARMING SYSTEMS, INTENSIFICATION, SUSTAINABILITY, ADAPTATION, EFFICIENCY, HIGHLANDS, DIVERSITY, YIELD",
author = "Victoria Alomia-Hinojosa and Groot, {Jeroen C. J.} and Speelman, {Erika N.} and Carlo Bettinelli and McDonald, {Andrew J.} and Stephanie Alvarez and Pablo Tittonell",
year = "2020",
month = mar,
doi = "10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883",
language = "English",
volume = "110",
journal = "Ecological indicators",
issn = "1470-160X",
publisher = "ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Operationalizing the concept of robustness of nitrogen networks in mixed smallholder systems

T2 - A pilot study in the mid-hills and lowlands of Nepal

AU - Alomia-Hinojosa, Victoria

AU - Groot, Jeroen C. J.

AU - Speelman, Erika N.

AU - Bettinelli, Carlo

AU - McDonald, Andrew J.

AU - Alvarez, Stephanie

AU - Tittonell, Pablo

PY - 2020/3

Y1 - 2020/3

N2 - Nitrogen (N) is often the most limiting nutrient to productivity in smallholder mixed crop-livestock systems such as commonly found in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Identifying current bottlenecks constraining agroecosystem functioning in terms of N flows and associated improvement options in these systems is paramount. Here, we explore variations in robustness, a concept from ecological network analysis (ENA) which represents the balance of system's degree of order between organization (order/constraint) and adaptive flexibility (freedom/resilience) of N flows. Robustness can provide a detailed assessment of N flows and assist in evaluation of measures to reduce nutrient losses. In this study, the FarmDESIGN model was employed to quantify nitrogen flows, generate ENA indicators of integration, diversity and robustness, and to explore the impact of crop intensification options on N networks across farm types in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Results revealed that the farms in the different agroecosystems recycled only a small portion of the total N inputs ( <15%), and had therefore high rates of N losses (63-1135 kg N per ha per year) and high dependency on N imports in the form of fodder (feed self-reliance 11-43%). The farm N networks were organised (high productivity) but inflexible (poorly resilient) and consequently unbalanced (low robustness). Scenarios of improved management (improved seed, intercropping, use of fertilizers, better timing of activities) resulted in improved crop production, leading to reduced fodder imports and less N losses. Consequently, the N networks increased in flexibility which resulted in greater robustness of the N flow network in the farm systems. Increasing on-farm biomass production by improved farm management could be an important element on the way to sustainably intensify smallholder farms, especially when dependency on external resources can be reduced. We conclude that a detailed analysis of nutrient flows and their robustness is a suitable instrument for targeted improvement of nutrient use in smallholder crop-livestock systems.

AB - Nitrogen (N) is often the most limiting nutrient to productivity in smallholder mixed crop-livestock systems such as commonly found in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Identifying current bottlenecks constraining agroecosystem functioning in terms of N flows and associated improvement options in these systems is paramount. Here, we explore variations in robustness, a concept from ecological network analysis (ENA) which represents the balance of system's degree of order between organization (order/constraint) and adaptive flexibility (freedom/resilience) of N flows. Robustness can provide a detailed assessment of N flows and assist in evaluation of measures to reduce nutrient losses. In this study, the FarmDESIGN model was employed to quantify nitrogen flows, generate ENA indicators of integration, diversity and robustness, and to explore the impact of crop intensification options on N networks across farm types in the mid-hills and lowland (Terai) of Nepal. Results revealed that the farms in the different agroecosystems recycled only a small portion of the total N inputs ( <15%), and had therefore high rates of N losses (63-1135 kg N per ha per year) and high dependency on N imports in the form of fodder (feed self-reliance 11-43%). The farm N networks were organised (high productivity) but inflexible (poorly resilient) and consequently unbalanced (low robustness). Scenarios of improved management (improved seed, intercropping, use of fertilizers, better timing of activities) resulted in improved crop production, leading to reduced fodder imports and less N losses. Consequently, the N networks increased in flexibility which resulted in greater robustness of the N flow network in the farm systems. Increasing on-farm biomass production by improved farm management could be an important element on the way to sustainably intensify smallholder farms, especially when dependency on external resources can be reduced. We conclude that a detailed analysis of nutrient flows and their robustness is a suitable instrument for targeted improvement of nutrient use in smallholder crop-livestock systems.

KW - Network analysis

KW - Whole-farm model

KW - Sustainability

KW - Nitrogen cycling

KW - Smallholder-farms

KW - FARMING SYSTEMS

KW - INTENSIFICATION

KW - SUSTAINABILITY

KW - ADAPTATION

KW - EFFICIENCY

KW - HIGHLANDS

KW - DIVERSITY

KW - YIELD

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883

DO - 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105883

M3 - Article

VL - 110

JO - Ecological indicators

JF - Ecological indicators

SN - 1470-160X

M1 - 105883

ER -

ID: 133331202