Trade-off analysis in the Northern Andes to study the dynamics in agricultural land use

J.J. Stoorvogel, J.M. Antle, C.C. Crissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper we hypothesize that land use change can be induced by non-linearities and thresholds in production systems that impact farmers' decision making. Tradeoffs between environmental and economic indicators is a useful way to represent dynamic properties of agricultural systems. The Tradeoff Analysis (TOA) System is software designed to implement the integrated analysis of tradeoffs in agricultural systems. The TOA methodology is based on spatially explicit econometric simulation models linked to spatially referenced bio-physical simulation models to simulate land use and input decisions. The methodology has been applied for the potato-pasture production system in the Ecuadorian Andes. The land use change literature often describes non-linearity in land use change as a result of sudden changes in the political (e.g. new agricultural policies) or environmental setting (e.g. earthquakes). However, less attention has been paid to the non-linearities in production systems and their consequences for land use change. In this paper, we use the TOA system to study agricultural land use dynamics and to find the underlying processes for non-linearities. Results show that the sources of non-linearities are in the properties of bio-physical processes and in the decision making-process of farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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