Arjan Gijsman

Dr. Arjan Gijsman passed away on June 13, 2021, after a very long battle with the merciless disease Multiple Scleroris. Arjan played an active role in the development and advancement of the Cropping System Model (CSM) of DSSAT. To recognize Arjan’s contributions to crop modeling and DSSAT, he is included as a co-author of the paper “The DSSAT Cropping System Model,” published in the European Journal of Agronomy, which has been cited over 4,126 times (June, 2022).

Arjan was responsible for converting the original CENTURY model for the simulation of the soil organic carbon and nitrogen balance into a module that can operate on a daily time step. He coupled the new daily time-step CENTURY module to CSM; this module now operates in parallel to the original module for soil organic carbon and nitrogen developed by Doug Godwin and can be selected by users of DSSAT. Especially for low-input systems, the CENTURY soil organic carbon and nitrogen module is critical for an accurate simulation of nitrogen mineralization and related processes. Arjan’s modeling work with CENTURY was documented in the paper entitled “Modifying DSSAT Crop Models for Low-Input Agricultural Systems Using a Soil Organic Matter–Residue Module from CENTURY,” published in Agronomy Journal.

Arjan also wrote a very interesting paper relevant to crop modeling entitled “Wading through a swamp of complete confusion: how to choose a method for estimating soil water retention parameters for crop models,” published in the European Journal of Agronomy. Arjan’s scientific contributions can be found on Google Scholar by searching for “A. Gijsman” as author.

Arjan studied at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1990. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate and a Senior Research Fellow with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Palmira (Cali), Colombia, from 1992 until 1999, where he conducted research on tropical grasses. While at CIAT, Arjan met his wife Dr. Segenet Kelemu. Arjan was a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida from 2000 until 2006. Arjan spent the final phase of his life in Kenya, where Segenet currently is the Director General of icipe.

Below, please find a poem entitled “Wheelchair” written by Arjan’s and Segenet’s daughter. Finote read this poem during the Celebration of the Life of Dr. Arjan Gijsman:

“I remember that awful day
When I heard the sound of those wheels
Tapping the floor leading their way
Oh, how I wish it could just heal

The disease that took over my dad
Multiple Sclerosis it sure was
His legs so weak they couldn’t withstand
That missing piece in my life held by gauze

The strong, sturdy wheels
Led by his hands
I surely don’t know how it feels
Not to be able to stand on fine land

I hope that one day
A cure will be found
And cure this some way
Multiple Sclerosis will never be found.”

Source Finote Gijsman

Arjan Gijsman 1959-2021

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About Gerrit Hoogenboom

Professor, University of Florida

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