An integrated systems model for sustainable agricultural development under changing climate: a case study in a coffee production system in Viet Nam

PhD Thesis


Pham, Yen Hoang. 2021. An integrated systems model for sustainable agricultural development under changing climate: a case study in a coffee production system in Viet Nam. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/dbty-kn67
Title

An integrated systems model for sustainable agricultural development under changing climate: a case study in a coffee production system in Viet Nam

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorPham, Yen Hoang
SupervisorMushtaq, Shahbaz
Cockfield, Geoff
ReardonĀ­-Smith, Kathryn
Smith, Carl
Kotir, Julius
Deo, Ravinesh
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages135
Year2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/dbty-kn67
Abstract

Drought events pose a major threat to agricultural production and food security in many regions globally, and this is expected to affect millions of people, more than the number affected by any other climate-related phenomena. A changing climate and growing demand for food driven by increasing population and economic growth are exacerbating the shortage of water, placing further pressure on farming systems. In many developing countries, a reduction in crop yields and livestock productivity and an increase in costs incurred for farming, for example, in irrigation, as a consequence of drought, have led to significant losses in income for many farmers, exacerbating the vulnerability of rural livelihoods.

As the frequency and severity of drought is expected to increase in many regions over coming decades, as a result of changing climatic conditions, the need for drought risk mitigation and adaptation is imperative. The agricultural sector is generally the most vulnerable to drought impacts; thus, it is crucial to identify and evaluate potential strategies to ensure agricultural sustainability. However, agricultural adaptation is a relatively complex, multidimensional and multiscale process, which poses challenges to policy-makers. This process is highly dependent on the complexity of the climate system, ecosystems, and human systems where various factors interact in dynamic and non-linear ways. Thus, adaptation planning for drought must be designed with due consideration to possible integrated effects of other policy decisions and of the trade-offs and synergies between adaptation and different management strategies.

To better understand the factors driving the impacts of drought on crop production, a systems dynamic approach has been applied as the primary research methodology in this study. Specifically, our aims are to explore the complex interactions between factors associated with drought and agricultural production, and examine how these might impact agricultural sustainability, using a case study in a coffee production system in Viet Nam. In the first stage, the study identified the relevant climatic factors, particularly drought-related drivers that influence coffee production globally, using a systematic quantitative literature review approach. A causal loop model grounded in systems thinking theory was then developed for the coffee production system in Dak Lak Province, Viet Nam to examine the interdependencies and feedbacks among system variables, including non-climatic drivers, based on this review and data retrieved from interviews with relevant stakeholders. Following this, a system dynamics model was designed, based on the causal loop model, in order to simulate the dynamics of drought impacts on coffee production in Dak Lak Province and evaluate a number of policy intervention scenarios. Results of policy scenario analyses indicate that drought conditions are expected to exacerbate problems related to water shortages for irrigation but that the dynamics generated from the interactions between factors related to water and land-use are of greater importance. It is these interactions that drive the sustainability of coffee production in the region, and their impacts could be substantially minimized through applying intervention strategies, including improved farm level water-saving irrigation practices and technologies and regional level control of land use and development. Overall, the model findings add noteworthy insights into drought and water resources management for sustainable crop production in the province, which demonstrates the significance of developing a systems framework in addressing complex natural resource-related issues under the uncertainty associated with changing climatic conditions. The outcomes of this research are expected to serve as important decision-support tools that can inform both strategic policy-making and adaptation to drought in a changing climate system.

KeywordsAgricultural production, water management, land use, drought, climate change, system dynamics
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300207. Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
300205. Agricultural production systems simulation
460207. Modelling and simulation
410199. Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified
300210. Sustainable agricultural development
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
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