Modeling of natural and social capital on farms: Toward useable integration

Daniel (Danny) Kenny

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In a world of increasing population and decreasing availability of arable land, the need to maintain and improve the quality of our farm systems is a clear and pressing one. Considerations of different types of capital give us a more holistic picture of what is at stake. Our decision-making mechanisms and tools must seek to integrate all types of capital, including natural and social capital, if we are to sustain long-term farm performance. Modeling is one way to integrate this 'expanded' notion of capital. While farm modeling is not a new concept, this paper reviews various types of models with the aims of determining which is most suitable to demonstrate the effect of natural and social capital on farm risk, farm resilience, and farm well-being. As an industry particularly vulnerable to extreme weather patterns and other ecological hazards, the concepts of risk and resilience are critical to sustain long-term farm well-being. Various types of farm models are covered in this review, including land use cover and change, agent-based, statistical, system dynamics, and participatory modeling. The paper also identifies key characteristics that assist in modeling the effects of natural and social capital management. I conclude that an integrated, spatially explicit, participatory, systems-based modeling process is suggested to usefully incorporate natural and social capital effects on farm risk, resilience, and well-being. This approach can incorporate a whole systems approach, capture system 'leverage points', and effectively involve affected stakeholders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    JournalEcological Modelling
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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