Using general systems theory to understand how farmers manage variability

  • Kaine G
  • Cowan L
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Abstract

Climate change is likely to increase the variability in environmental conditions that Australian farmers will have to contend with, potentially threatening farm viability. In this research we use general systems theory to describe how farmers use the three types of system regulators (aggregation, error control and anticipation) to manage variability in the environment. We present codling moth management as an example of system regulation in agriculture. We found that adaptation to climate change is likely to require that farmers modify the structure of their farm systems by changing their combination of system regulators. Decisions regarding changes in structure may favour certain types or system regulators over others. This has implications for policy development to support farm adaptation. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • General systems theory
  • System regulators
  • Variability

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Authors

  • G Kaine

  • L Cowan

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