Using stakeholder consultation in the development of a Decision Support Tool in the SmartSOIL project - Julie Ingram
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Using stakeholder consultation in the development of a Decision Support Tool in the SmartSOIL project - Julie Ingram

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Presented at the 10th European International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Symposium, 1-4 July 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark. ...

Presented at the 10th European International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Symposium, 1-4 July 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Ingram, J, Mills, J, Frelih-Larsen, A and Davis, M. (2012). Uptake of soil management practices and experiences with decisions support tools: Analysis of the consultation with the farming community. Deliverable 5.1 http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/D5_1_Final.pdf

SmartSOIL Aims to contribute to reversing the current degradation trend of European agricultural soils by improving soil carbon management in European arable and mixed farming systems covering intensive to low-input and organic farming systems.

Two overall aims:

To identify farming systems and agronomic practices that result in an optimized balance between crop productivity and soil carbon sequestration.

To develop and deliver a decision support tool (DST) and guidelines to support novel approaches to different European soils and categories of beneficiaries (farmers, farm advisory and extension services, and policy makers).


This presentation relates to the second of these aims

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Using stakeholder consultation in the development of a Decision Support Tool in the SmartSOIL project - Julie Ingram Using stakeholder consultation in the development of a Decision Support Tool in the SmartSOIL project - Julie Ingram Presentation Transcript

  • Using stakeholder consultation in the development of a Decision Support Tool in the SmartSOIL project Julie Ingram*, Jane Mills (CCRI) & Ana-Frelih-Larsen, Sandra Naumann (Ecologic)The 10th European International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Symposium, 1-4 July 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark* corresponding author jingram@glos.ac.ukcopyright CCRI 2012
  • www.smartsoil.euPresentation from analysis by partners (WP4&5) in the EU FP7 project:SmartSOIL: Sustainable farm Management Aimed at Reducing Threats toSOILs under climate changeSmartSOIL aims to contribute to reversing the current degradation trendof European agricultural soils by improving soil carbon management inEuropean arable and mixed farming systems covering intensive to low-input and organic farming systems
  • SmartSOIL Two overall aims:• To identify farming systems and agronomic practices that result in an optimized balance between crop productivity and soil carbon sequestration.• To develop and deliver a decision support tool (DST) and guidelines to support novel approaches to different European soils and categories of beneficiaries (farmers, farm advisory and extension services, and policy makers).This presentation addresses the 2nd aim
  • DST development - past experiences DSTs (all formats) - widely used, aid deficiencies of human judgement, can help to reduce uncertainty, can address complex tasksBUTProblems occur- especially with Decision Support Systems:• Usefulness / relevance - salience• Distrust of the output - credibility• Not suited to all users - legitimacy(Mir and Quadri, 2009)
  • DST development - participatory approaches Participatory approaches overcome these problems and assist in development and ultimate use of DSTs (McCown, 2001; Jakku and Thorburn, 2009) This presentation aims to explore how stakeholder consultation can help in the development of SmartSOIL DST and specifically how it can help to improve the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of DST
  • Conceptualisation- DSTs operate at boundaries • Boundaries exist between scientific community and practitioners (advisers, farmers) • Different norms and expectations in the two communities, regarding what constitutes ‘reliable evidence, convincing argument, procedural fairness, and appropriate characterisation of uncertainty’. Cash et al (2002) • Boundaries exist between Communities of Practice where members share the same concerns, practices, history and frames of reference Wenger (1998) • Where DSTs are developed in a participatory way they have been described as ‘boundary objects’ because they provide a common point of reference, they describe items that sit between two different social worlds (Star and Griesemer, 1989)
  • Improving knowledge WP1 LTEs & newLinking soil carbon & experiments crop productivity WP4 WP2 DST & Soil WP5 Guidelines management Stakeholder systems in involvement & dissemination Europe WP3 Economic appraisal Applying of soil management knowledge options Case studies SmartSOIL scheme of work
  • SmartSOIL approach: DST development Stakeholder consultation: interviews & workshops
  • 6 Case study regions 9
  • DST development: stakeholder consultation• First consultation*• 7-10 advisers, policy makers (decision makers) & research practitioners interviewed in each of 6 case study regions *Full details in Ingram et al. (2012). Uptake of soil management practices and experiences with decisions support tools: Analysis of the consultation with the farming community. Deliverable 5.1
  • DST development: interview questions• What is the general understanding, awareness and implementation of soil management practices (specifically: cover crops, rotation, residue management, tillage management, manure and fertiliser management)?• What data are available and used to develop tools?• What are the experiences and views of DSTs (all formats)?• What should the SmartSOIL DST provide?
  • Results- Salience Salience: relevant to needs of decision makers; information should be timely and address issues on their agendasInterviews found that:• soil carbon management is not relevant to advisers/farmers• advisers and farmers do not focus on single issues• soil carbon management operates on a different timescale (much longer) than most production related decisions• sensitivity of model parameters does not reflect real concerns• perceived relevance -amount and quality of data required - I think it would suit some people but the initial trade off the amount of information that you have to put in to get something robust out at the other end is off putting. Adviser, Scotland
  • Results- Credibility Credibility: scientific plausibility of the technical evidence and arguments. Sources of knowledge must be deemed trustworthy and/or believable, along with the facts, theories, and causal explanationsInterviews found that: One of the problems is that there is so much uncertainty about carbon at the simplest level. It would be helpful to have consensus in scientific community first of all. Researcher, UK
  • Results: CredibilityEven “experts” [advisers] don’t know which practice torecommend to farmers when they ask how can I conservethe quality of soil and mitigate climate change. Thepractices are too complicated, very difficult to recommendone fertiliser or another because all have different effectsand advantages/disadvantages. The communication tothe farmers is not necessarily the issue, more important,agree and display some clarity on “best practice. Adviser,SpainAt the advising level it is crucial to have a proof, anevidence of the effects of a practice. Adviser, Italy
  • Results: CredibilityTools and models are too complicated. The moreprecise measure you want, the more complicated themodel. Most DSTs are not precise enough at soil level toprovide the sort of recommendations that farmerswant. Most models don’t have a feel of accuracy ofhistory of land to provide that detail. An agronomistconstantly working on a particular soil type andcropping system will have that knowledge. I think thetake up of tools by agronomists is low. The newer ones[tools]are very complicated and they take time tounderstand and learn. If you have been farming yourfarm for 30 years you know what your soil is capable ofdelivering. Researcher, UK
  • Results: Legitimacy Legitimacy: the perception that the production of information and technology has been respectful of stakeholders’ divergent values and beliefs and unbiasedInterviews found that:• case studies have a range of farming systems and farmers• computerised DSTs - issues of resources, access, broadband, farmer type (age, education)• not all farmers use an adviser• some farming systems are not able to incorporate some soil carbon management practices -eg cover crops not used in Scotland
  • SmartSOIL DST - Improving salience of DST• Needs to be relevant to the farmers’ timescale• Inputs need to be accessible and significant in real life• Approach the issue from a farming point of view -economic benefits should be prioritised• Do not focus on one aspect - You can’t just focus on one aspect, it’s a balancing act, you can’t be prescriptive - it’s local and it’s management related Adviser, UK• Improve integration with other tools and continuity Tools and models are all developed separately, distinct, with no continuity or integration.
  • SmartSOIL DST - Improving credibility of DST• Balance simplicity/effectiveness It is essential to simplify the information in order to communicate a complex message to local situations however simplicity also reduces effectiveness.• Improve confidence in outcomes –particularly at farm scale where experiential knowledge already works well• Communicate scientific certainty - provide evidence and demonstration of practices being recommended• Improve clarity and transparency in tool development
  • SmartSOIL DST - Improving legitimacy of DST• Continue SH consultation• Consider all users (access to PCs, access to broadband, access to advisers, age education, farming systems)• Develop a range of formats in a ‘tool box’ to suit different users’ needs and preferences
  • SmartSOIL next stepsThe iterative approach will continue with workshops enabling further consultation,feedback and DST validation. This presentation will be developed into a fullpublication. Stakeholder consultation: interviews & workshops
  • ReferencesDavid Cash, William Clark, Frank Alcock, Nancy Dickson, Noelle Eckley, and Jill Jäger 2002. Salience, Credibility, Legitimacy andBoundaries: Linking Research, Assessment and Decision Making Faculty Research Working Papers Series November 2002. RWP02-046Ingram, J, Mills, J, Frelih-Larsen, A and Davis, M. (2012). Uptake of soil management practices andexperiences with decisions support tools: Analysis of the consultation with the farming community.Deliverable 5.1 http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/D5_1_Final.pdfJakku E and Thorburn P A 2009 conceptual framework for guiding the of participatory development of agricultural decision supportsystems. CSIRO ISSN 1834 -5638R. L. McCown, S.L. 2001 Learning to bridge the gap between science-based decision support and the practice of farming: Evolution inparadigms of model-based research and intervention from design to dialogue Aust. J. Agric. Res., 2001, 52, 549–571Mir, Shabir Ahmad and Quadri,S.M.K. 2009. Decision Support Systems: Concepts, Progress and Issues – A Review. In E. Lichtfouse (ed.),Climate Change, Intercropping, Pest Control and Beneficial Microorganisms, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 2, Springer ScienceandBusiness Media B.V. pp373-399Star S.L., Griesemer J.R. (1989), Institutional Ecology, Translations and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in BerkeleysMuseum of Vertebrate Zoology. Social Studies of Science, 19 (3), pp. 387-420.Wenger, E., (1998). Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning, and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press