Christian Levers, VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Matthias Bürgi, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland
Tobias Plieninger, Universität Göttingen, Germany
Felix Herzog, Agroscope, Switzerland
Claudia Bieling, University of Hohenheim, Germany
Agricultural systems in Europe face a multitude of complex sustainability challenges. Ongoing and accelerating mega-trends such as farm-size enlargement, ageing of farmers, dietary change, and not the least climate change will increase the pressure on these systems and will likely require fundamental changes to meet sustainability goals.
The ongoing mechanization, specialization, and intensification of agriculture, often argued as means to improve productivity, economic growth, and societal wellbeing, triggered a homogenization of agricultural landscapes across Europe. However, increasing diversity on farms and in landscapes has been linked to positive outcomes for people and environment and provides a clear sustainability pathway for resilient agro-ecosystems, more diverse diets, and improved health. Yet, benefits and costs of diversified agricultural systems are largely unclear, as well as trade-offs and synergies on sustainability outcomes such as biodiversity, human health, and farmer livelihoods.
This session will offer new insights into transition pathways of European agricultural landscapes towards sustainability with a particular focus on diversified agro-ecosystems by welcoming contributions in form of papers/presentations from all world regions addressing questions such as:
Sonja Kay, Agroscope, Switzerland
Martin Schönhart, BOKU, Austria
Peter Zander, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Johannes Schuler, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Claudia Bethwell, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Best benefits for farmers, society, and biodiversity build on the idea of an “optimal” landscape, where diversification of crops, landscape features and species play a key role. However, current approaches are rather theoretical or disciplinarily focused e.g. on biodiversity, on agriculture management or farm profitability. Moreover, there is typically a scale mismatch of disciplinary models. While bio-physical models often focus on management practices at plot level, bio-economic models focus on farm level approaches, while biodiversity models profit of landscape level analysis valuing ecological networks and diversified landscape mosaics. Therefore, the focus of this session is to present examples of the spatial integration of current biodiversity and bio-economic models and their application on existing landscapes in a scenario context. This should also include studies of the interactions between farm management and landscape biodiversity to safeguard important diversity of landscape elements (and ecosystem services) to facilitate future decision-making.
We invite contributions from a multidisciplinary background that aim at such objectives and that highlight methodological landscape approaches. The session will provide a platform for (worldwide) exchange on how to model diversified landscapes in interdisciplinary approaches with different scales and different levels of data availability.
Mariana Rufino, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
Cheikh Mbow, Director of Future Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa
African landscapes are continuously evolving and adapting to multiple drivers. Whereas many regions of Africa are undergoing fast development, others face the consequences of land degradation. Degradation is associated with stagnation in food production and therefore must be resolved to secure future food while simultaneously avoiding biodiversity and carbon losses. In many parts of Africa, the risk of land degradation is high calling for a combination of sound landscape management and restoration to improve food production. There are however major uncertainties about how land restoration initiatives can be implemented and quantitative studies that show how restoration can succeed are lacking, especially in Africa.
Evidence shows that high livestock grazing pressures alter land productivity and diversity and that grazing can degrade soil fertility. Further, landscapes with high livestock densities are exposed to erosion, have greater emissions of greenhouse gases and increased risk of ecosystem degradation. In these situations, restoration approaches need to take into account interactions between grazing lands, croplands and adjacent forests. This session will present evidence of 1) how to harness the potential of biodiversity to improve livestock production in African farming systems and to restore degraded landscapes; and 2) how to improve landscape resilience through increased landscape diversity underpinned by an understanding of livestock-mediated landscape interactions.
Hannes J. König, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Lovisa Nilsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden
Karoline Hemminger, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Emu-Felicitas Ostermann-Myashita, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Luca Eufemia, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
When aiming to promote sustainable development of agricultural landscapes, making trade-offs between the objectives of wildlife conservation and agricultural production is one of the biggest challenges. Limited availability of natural habitat increases the likelihood of negative impact on agricultural production caused by wildlife and the resulting conflicts over management objectives have become a topic of global interest.
Many studies have been conducted to monitor the populations and movement of wildlife species as well as assess their impact on agricultural management. Land use and wildlife species interact bilaterally, both in terms of wildlife population development and selection of habitat: e.g. the high population growths of wild boar (Sus scrofa), common crane (Grus grus) and several species of wild geese (Anser and Branta spp) have been related to high availability of agricultural forage.
This session aims to discuss how to integrate the perspective of concerned actors, such as farmers, wildlife managers and research disciplines, such as wildlife ecology and agricultural science, to develop sustainable and diverse agricultural landscapes fulfilling the multiple objectives of agricultural production and species- and habitat conservation. Moreover, management solutions to human-wildlife interactions will be discussed: How can we mitigate ecosystem disservices (EDS) and enhance ecosystem services (ES) provided by wildlife both at the level of cropping and grassland systems and at landscape level? In the first part of the session, we will invite four presenters to share their experience and ideas on these topics. The latter part of the session will be open for discussion among all participants.
Kaushal K Garg, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India
Jennie Barron, SLU Uppsala, Sweden
Amare Haileselassie, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Ethiopia
Sustainable intensification and diversification is needed for improving rural livelihood system while balancing ecosystem services within and beyond designated agricultural landscapes.
Landscape based approaches use holistic approaches for addressing rural poverty while simultaneously restoring degraded soils that support livelihoods. These approaches use integrated packages of interventions including diversification of crops and animal to build system level resilience and support sustainable intensification. Realizing and operationalizing this potential now receives more than two billion USD/year by various development agencies in Asia and Africa (Mandal et al., 2020). However, there is scope to strengthen the planning, designing and execution of such interventions through science led approaches aligned with local innovations. In addition, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of and partnerships between different actors, to ensure more equal opportunities and sharing of benefits and costs.
The CGIAR Collaborative Research Program on Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and partners have more than 40 years of experience in science-based landscape management approaches. ICRISAT, IWMI in collaboration with state governments and other partners in India and Ethiopia have implemented initiatives from pilot scale in micro catchments to the scale of river basins, which addressed water availability, land degradation, to diversify livelihood opportunities whilst strengthening ecosystem services. In this session, we will share some of our lessons learned to catalyse upscaling of landscape diversification approaches. The session invites contributions that provide new understanding and novel science findings on how diversified landscapes can contribute to system resilience, ecosystem regeneration, optimizing trade-offs, impacts on livelihoods etc. as well as their application with various stakeholders for co-design and effective implementation. It also aims to highlight lessons learned in building essential and effective partnerships for scaling, to share both costs of implementation and the benefits attained.