Modeling of Mediterranean agrosystems functioning. Analysis of scenarios for the future of the Mediterranean agriculture in a context of global change.

Modelling of Mediterranean agrosystems functioning. Analysis of scenarios for the future of the Mediterranean agriculture in a context of global change

Modelling the biogeochemical functioning of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems for assessment of their ecosystem services. Assessment of sustainability criteria for the future of Mediterranean agriculture under global change scenarios. 

The first task of the PhD student will be the adaptation of an existing generic large-scale agro-ecosystems model that simulates the coupled carbon and water cycle of several potential natural and cultivated/managed plant functional types. For agricultural systems around the Mediterranean, it is necessary to enhance the model for: − additional permanent cropping systems (olive-trees, vineyards, orchards). − associated cropping systems (low-input systems, agroforestry). These diverse systems are either traditionally present around the Mediterranean or they are tested as innovative systems for potentially more sustainable agriculture (soil conservation, carbon sequestration, reduced external inputs, improved resilience against climatic stress, etc). In a second task, the PhD student will perform spatial simulations with the model around the Mediterranean to estimate several ecosystem services directly depending on the management of agro-ecosystems. Global change scenarios will be used for simulating likely future performances and impacts of Mediterranean agriculture, including the estimation of environmental, economic, and social services for sustainable agriculture. The PhD work will benefit from co-supervision at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK, Potsdam, Germany) and the department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science at the University of Lund (Sweden) where the model was initially developed and where it is further developed and used within several projects. For testing the implementation of specific Mediterranean traditional or innovative cropping systems within the agro-ecosystem model, and for analysing their ecological and socio-economic impacts, the PhD candidate will collaborate with several institutes in Europe, and in the South Mediterranean (especially Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon).