Decision Support Systems in Agriculture, Food and the Environment: Trends, Applications and Advances

Decision Support Systems in Agriculture, Food and the Environment: Trends, Applications and Advances

Basil Manos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Nikolaos Matsatsinis (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Konstantinos Paparrizos (University of Macedonia, Greece) and Jason Papathanasiou (University of Macedonia, Greece)
Release Date: June, 2010|Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 554
ISBN13: 9781615208814|ISBN10: 161520881X|EISBN13: 9781615208821|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-881-4


As national and international concern over sustainable resources becomes more prevalent, the need for decision support systems (DSS) increases. The applicable uses of a successful system can assist in the sustainability of resources, as well as the efficiency and management of the agri-environment industry.

Decision Support Systems in Agriculture, Food and the Environment: Trends, Applications and Advances presents the development of DSS for managing agricultural and environmental systems, focusing on the exposition of innovative methodologies, from web-mobile systems to artificial intelligence and knowledge-based DSS, as well as their applications in every aspect from harvest planning to international food production and land management. This book provides an in depth look into the growing importance of DSS in agriculture.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Dairy farming
  • Ecosystem reconstruction and management
  • Field performance prediction
  • Fisheries management
  • Irrigation Management
  • Livestock systems
  • Simulation of agricultural and environmental systems
  • Sustainable forest and rangeland management
  • Sustainable Land Use
  • Water resources assessment and management

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
G. H. Huang
Basil Manos, Konstantinos Paparrizos, Nikolaos Matsatsinis, Jason Papathanasiou
Basil Manos, Konstantinos Paparrizos, Nikolaos Matsatsinis, Jason Papathanasiou
Chapter 1
James M. Hamlett, C. Gregory Knight
A decision support system linking a geographic-information-systems-based simulation of basin-scale water quality with a linear programming decision... Sample PDF
Decision Support for River Quality Management: The REKA Model in Bulgaria
Chapter 2
Y. Cohen, A. Cohen, D. Broday
The aim of this chapter is to describe the motivation to develop a knowledge-based spatial decision support system (KB-SDSS) for medfly control in... Sample PDF
A Knowledge-Based SDSS for Medfly Area-Wide Control: Development, Validation and Effectiveness Evaluation
Chapter 3
R. A. Kelly, W. S. Merritt
Coastal lakes are ecosystems which provide significant environmental, social and economic values. They are a key habitat for many aquatic species... Sample PDF
The Role of Decision Support Systems (DSS) in Planning For Improved Water Quality in Coastal Lakes
Chapter 4
Rafael Moreno-Sánchez, Juan Manuel Torres-Rojo
In the last 25 years there have been several efforts to create Decision Support Systems (DSS) for management of the forests in Mexico. Few... Sample PDF
Decision Support Systems For Forest Management In Mexico: Their Characteristics and Context for Their Creation and Evolution
Chapter 5
Lluís Miquel Plà-Aragonés
Decision support systems (DSS) is the natural framework where decision models should be included in order to support farmers, advisers or livestock... Sample PDF
DSS in Pig Production Systems
Chapter 6
Anja Wijffels, Jos Van Orshoven, Bart Muys, Dirk Cattrysse
To deal with the complexity of land use allocation in a spatio-temporally variable context, a generic framework for automated support to... Sample PDF
GI-Technology: Adaptive Generator of Spatio-Temporal Decision Support Systems for Land Use Planning
Chapter 7
Kathrin Kirchner, Ivonne Erfurth, Sarah Möckel, Tino Gläßer, André Schmidt
Most decision analytic research does not focus on initial steps of modeling and mostly concentrates on selecting preexisting algorithms. In this... Sample PDF
A Participatory Approach for Analyzing and Modeling Decision Processes: A Case Study on Cultivation Planning
Chapter 8
F. Zhang, D. D. Iliescu, E. L. Hines, M. S. Leeson, S. R. Adams
This chapter introduces a decision support system which is capable of predicting the weekly yields of tomatoes in a greenhouse. The development of... Sample PDF
Decision Support System for Greenhouse Tomato Yield Prediction using Artificial Intelligence Techniques
Chapter 9
Emmanouil Stiakakis, Angelo Sifaleras
The proposed research focuses on the food production industry. More specifically, we are interested in evaluating the performance of this industry... Sample PDF
Evaluating the Performance of Decision Making Units in the Food Production Industry
Chapter 10
Yue-Ping Xu, Martijn J. Booij
This paper describes validation of an appropriateness framework, which has been developed in a former study, to determine appropriate models under... Sample PDF
Validation of a Model Appropriateness Framework Using the Elbe Decision Support System
Chapter 11
José A. Gómez-Limón, Laura Riesgo
This paper deals with a comparative analysis of alternative methods of constructing composite indicators to measure the global sustainability of the... Sample PDF
A Composite Indicator to Measure Agricultural Sustainability: Alternative Approaches
Chapter 12
Bertrand Léger, Olivier Naud, Véronique Bellon-Maurel, Michel Clerjeau, Laurent Delière, Philippe Cartolaro, Lionel Delbac
GrapeMilDeWS is an expert-based approach for the integrated pest management (IPM) of two of the major pathogens of grapevine (Vitis vinifera)... Sample PDF
GrapeMilDeWS: A Formally Designed Integrated Pest Management Decision Process Against Grapevine Powdery and Downy Mildews
Chapter 13
R. J. Lehmann, R. Reiche, M. Fritz, G. Schiefer
Enterprises in the agri-food sector are challenged by an increasing number of public and private requirements regarding traceability, food safety... Sample PDF
Integrated Production and Information Process Modelling for Decision Support in Quality Management
Chapter 14
Helga Pereira, Luis C. Dias, Maria João Alves
This work describes the sequential use of different Information Systems and Decision Support Systems (DSS) to measure the efficiency of a set of... Sample PDF
Assessing the Efficiency and Distribution of Agricultural Activities Using DSS: A Case Study for a Portuguese Region
Chapter 15
James D. Carswell, Keith Gardiner, Michela Bertolotto, Andrea Rizzini
Current field data collection methods for many of today’s scientific and other observer/monitor type applications are still entrenched in the... Sample PDF
A Web and Mobile System for Environmental Decision Support
Chapter 16
D. de la Rosa, M. Anaya-Romero
The main focus of this chapter is that using soil type information in decision making is at the heart for sustainable use and management of... Sample PDF
MicroLEIS DSS: For Planning Agro-Ecological Soil Use and Management Systems
Chapter 17
R. Giordano, G. Passarella
In the real world, environmental decision-making takes place in a highly interconnected environment, in which neither the decisional ramifications... Sample PDF
Conflict Analysis Using Fuzzy Decision Support System: A Case Study in Apulia Region, Italy
Chapter 18
Run Yu, PingSun Leung, Lotus E. Kam, Paul Bienfang
The implementation of partial harvesting for intensive aquaculture is a difficult undertaking for the aqua-farmers, due to the complex nature of... Sample PDF
A Decision Support System for Scheduling Partial Harvesting in Aquaculture
Chapter 19
Nigel W.T. Quinn, Ricardo Ortega, Lisa M. Holm
Environmental sensor networks enjoy widespread deployment as monitoring systems have become easier to design and implement in the field and... Sample PDF
Environmental Sensor Networks and Continuous Data Quality Assurance to Manage Salinity within a Highly Regulated River Basin.
Chapter 20
Nuno de Almeida Ribeiro, Peter Surový, António Cipriano Pinheiro
The cork oak woodland production systems result from the integration of conflicting activities in the same space creating the need of constant... Sample PDF
Adaptive Management on Sustainability of Cork Oak Woodlands
Chapter 21
Stelios Rozakis
Biomass-to-energy projects have become attractive these days because of recent European policy measures that attempt to address acute environmental... Sample PDF
A Web-based Spatial DSS for estimating biomass-to-energy supply in Thessaly
About the Contributors


The transformation of the planet over the past century due to intense human activity has affected ecosystems more rapidly and decisively than any other comparable period of recorded history; the emerging environmental change is making the production of ‘good’ decisions a challenging issue as the stakes and the risks have increased for all involved parties. The severe exploitation of the natural environment has led to a significant reduction and degradation of natural resources, placing the concept of sustainable development as a global goal a common consensus of the international community. As a result, the sustainable use of natural resources is presently much more than a simple necessity; current international research focuses heavily on topics like sustainable development, regional planning, environmental decision making and implementation, climate change, biodiversity conservation plus a number of other relevant issues, especially at times of economic crisis as today. However, economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand, provided that decision makers develop and use tools and insights targeting in the implementation of successful and robust long term policies. Reversing unsustainable global trends will require considerable and time consuming efforts and an integration of environmental objectives across most policy areas, challenging Information Systems (IS) and Operational Research (OR) researchers to participate and offer solutions.

It is in this context that Decision Support Systems (DSS), a core subject area of the IS and OR disciplines, come in focus offering solutions. Building successful DSS is a highly complex procedure, involving a number of disciplines like informatics, operational research, knowledge management, business administration, behavioral studies, sociology and artificial intelligence, all of which constitute sources of information that concern the manner in which humans potentially behave at the treatment of information and the decision-making process. DSS can be flexible enough to be applied to various policy levels of the agricultural, food and environmental sectors, from the local and national levels, to the regional and international levels with organizations such as the EU and the UN. Operational research modeling techniques have been developed to reach scientifically justified and robust decisions, which will enhance the process to achieve the target of continuous and viable sustainability in the long run. The DSS can range from simple accounting-based systems to systems based on detailed deterministic, stochastic or simulation models. As agricultural production and environmental management involve high risk decisions, risk analysis and management tools have enjoyed increased popularity over the last years as well, by the time that food supply chain management, ecosystem governance, conservation of biodiversity and global climate change have among other issues hotly entered the agenda.

The original idea behind this volume lies in the experiences of the editors in this field and their involvement in various DSS projects. After much debate, we identified the need to let the latest relevant theoretical frameworks and empirical research findings to emerge; to produce a book written for professionals who want to improve their understanding of the strategic role of DSS at different levels of the decision making procedure; such a book can also serve as an excellent dissemination tool for highly specialized DSS like those on agriculture, food and the environment, especially as these results are often difficult to reach production or acquire broader acceptance. This proved to be a challenging task; we asked vigorous researchers to offer their feedback from the design and modeling phases of the DSS, to the final actual applications plus cases using them. 

The target audience of this volume is composed of professionals and researchers working in the field of decision support systems and in the disciplines of agriculture, food and the environment. This includes operational research practitioners, academics, agricultural and environmental economists and engineers, geographers, agronomists, farming industry practitioners and policy makers in developing organizations, governance institutions and regional and management authorities. Moreover, the book provides insights and reference for scholars and PhD students concerned with the management science, operational research, information science and international development issues like sustainability of resources, ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation and climate change.

The book is divided in three parts; the first part concerns the DSS fundamentals, design and experiences and it spans through seven chapters highlighting the difficulties and complexities that are encountered during DSS development. The second part, from chapter eight to thirteen is about DSS modeling techniques and efficiency of design and implementation; the third and final part presents DSS applications and case studies in nine chapters. The case studies using certain DSS and proving their effectiveness under various scenarios, can well contribute to the overall objectives of the book; governance institutes and stakeholders of different levels can gain from practices and experiences applied by their counterparts in different parts of the world, thus improving their effectiveness. Successful DSS case studies are expected to arise the interest of many DSS practitioners and researchers; experiences can be transferred, views can be exchanged, ‘bad’ management concepts can be avoided and above all research in the many scientific fields addressed by the DSS technology can gain new momentum.  

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Basil Manos has been holding teaching and research positions in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) since 1976. He is a Professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics of School of Agriculture and Director of the Laboratory of Agricultural Informatics of this School. His research interests are in Operational Research models in Agriculture, Decision Support Systems, Regional Planning, Sustainability and Efficiency, Environmental Management. Professor Manos holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Economics from AUTH, a M.Sc. degree in Operational Research from the London School of Economics, and a Ph. D. in Agricultural Economics from AUTH. He has published papers in European Journal of Operational Research, Interfaces, Journal of Environmental Management, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Regional Studies, Journal of Policy Modeling, Water policy, Supply Chain Management-An International Journal, British Food Journal etc. He has conducted research in many National and EU funded projects, coordinating some of them, since 1976.
Nikolaos Matsatsinis is a Professor of Information and Intelligent Decision Support Systems at the Department of Production Engineering and Management of the Technical University of Crete, Greece. He is Chairman of the Department, Director of Decision Support Systems Lab and President of Hellenic Operational Research Society (HELORS). He also has over twenty eight years of experience in Information and Decision Systems development. He has coordinate or/and contribute on over of thirty projects. He is the author or co-author of fifteen books and over of sixty six articles in international scientific journals and books. He is member of the international advisory board of three scientific journals. His research interests fall into the areas of Decision Support Systems, Artificial Intelligent and Multi-Agent Systems, Multicriteria Decision Analysis, Group Decision Support Systems, Workflow Management Systems, e-Business, e-Marketing, Consumer Behaviour Analysis.
Konstantinos Paparrizos is a Professor in the Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia Economic and Social Sciences, Greece, Thessaloniki. He received his MSc and PhD in Operations Research from the Case Western Reserve University, USA. His research interests include mathematical programming, network optimization, algorithm analysis, and data structures. He is a member of INFORMS, and the Mathematical Programming Society. He has served as a member of the Editorial Board of the Operational research. An international Journal, and also as a Chairman of the 18th Pan-Hellenic Operational Research Conference. He has conducted research in many Greek and EU funded projects and he also has a number of papers published in international conferences and international scientific journals like the Computers & Operations Research, INFORMS Transactions on Education, European Journal of Operations Research, and Yugoslav Journal of Operations Research.
Jason Papathanasiou is a full time lecturer at the department of Marketing and Operations Management, University of Macedonia, Greece. He holds a Ph.D. in Operational Research and Informatics and a degree in Physics, both from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has worked for a number of years as an adjunct lecturer at the Technical Institute of Technology in Thessaloniki and on the Universities of Macedonia and Western Macedonia teaching courses like Computer Applications Programming, Web Programming and Operational Research. He has organized and participated in a number of international scientific conferences and workshops and has published papers in international scientific peer referred journals like the Journal of Environmental Management, Regional Studies, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, the Journal of Policy Modeling and the European Journal of Operational Research. He has also participated as a researcher and as a member of the coordination team in many national and international research projects.