Cross scale systems

6.1 Digital tools for site specific and diversified field arrangements to increase ecosystem services and biodiversity

Convenors:
Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Ioanna Mouratiadou, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Kathrin Grahmann, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

Agricultural landscapes are required to simultaneously fulfil various tasks: increase or stabilize crop production, maintain soil fertility, provide clean groundwater, sequester carbon, increase/promote biodiversity etc. Those goals are sometimes contradicting each other. One way to harmonize them is the approach of spatial diversification of land use systems by segregating fields according to site-specific requirements into smaller and more homogenous patches and conducting different spatially adapted management practices from point to patch to field scale. This session aims to address the following associated challenges:

  • How to identify the potential of fields and landscapes for enhanced ecosystem service and biodiversity provision though diversified field arrangements,
  • How to improve and implement novel management practices based on new field arrangements at the field and farm scale,
  • How to solve the technical mechanization challenges related to smaller field arrangements and how to include field robotics for implementing diversified field arrangements.

Digital technologies, including sensing, monitoring, robotics as well as decision support tools are essential to tackle those challenges. The session will focus on the field scale, but will relate the field arrangements to the farm level as well as evaluate the effect of diversified field arrangements at the landscape scale.
The session is open to contributions from all interested participants across world regions. Newest findings from the projects DAKIS, patchCROP and others will provide insights to the challenges which diversified field arrangements face.

 

6.2 Mixing crops, livestock and trees in farms and landscapes for people and planet

Convenors:
Tommy Dalgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark
Sara Burbi, Coventry University, United Kingdom
Christine Watson, SRUC, United Kingdom
Ulrich Schmutz, Coventry University, United Kingdom
Francesco Accatino, INRAE, France

Agricultural systems across the world face challenges in terms of economic, ecological and societal outcomes. There is an urgent need to strengthen the resilience (capacity to cope with challenges), and efficiency (capacity to satisfy food demand with less impact) of these systems. It is assumed that more mixed farming and agroforestry systems can deliver increased resilience and climate adaptation potential, with a more integral coupling of nutrient and carbon cycles, a diversified ecosystem service delivery and a better 3-dimensional use of resources. Research is needed to check these assumptions, quantify the potential of these solutions, and develop strategies for their implementation.
Such mixed and agroforestry systems can operate at many scales embracing diversity at the field, farm and landscape level, as well as in the attached production chains. This session will focus on how these systems can increase production efficiency, while decreasing input use, and minimising negative environmental and social impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions. The session specifically invites participatory co-design approaches to transforming agriculture towards a more mixed pathway for the future.
We welcome contributions from across the globe to highlight the diversity of both land use systems and solutions. This session is co-designed by two new 4-year EU H2020 projects focusing on agroforestry and mixed farming (project acronyms: MIXED and AGROMIX).

 

6.3 Agroecology as a transition pathway towards diversified, sustainable and resilient farming systems

Convenor:
Heitor Mancini Teixeira, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands

Agroecology can be defined as the integration of research, education, practice and movement for the development of sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. The agroecological approach is a response to the dominant industrial model of agriculture towards the integration between scientific and local knowledge for the design of biodiversity-based agroecosystems. Increasing biodiversity can enhance the provision of multiple ecosystem functions and services, and therefore lies at heart of the transition to agroecological systems. Yet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the design of diversified and agroecological systems must be sensitive to local needs and conditions. In addition, scaling the transition towards agroecology requires the creation of new social dynamics at different scales, from household and communities to territories and policy-making.
Despite the broad social and environmental call for agroecology and the increasing number of scientific studies on the topic, there is still limited knowledge on how to successfully implement agroecological transitions as well as its social and ecological impacts. In this session, we invite experts in the field to share their knowledge and advance new coordination strategies to understand and promote agroecological transitions. Submission of papers/posters from different countries and academic disciplines is encouraged to enable an interdisciplinary debate, considering systemic and multi-level approaches to understand the global drivers and impacts of agroecological transitions.

 

6.4 Multi-scale scenario design for European agriculture and food systems to frame future diversification contexts

Convenors:
Martin Schönhart, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria
Katrin Karner, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria
Hermine Mitter, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria
Katharina Helming, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Alevtina Evgrafova, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Ioanna Mouratiadou, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

Scenario development for agriculture and food systems has gained in importance in recent years because of its wide applicability in research and practice. Scenarios can support ex-ante assessments or directly inform decision makers about relevant drivers of future developments, potential impacts and responses towards sustainable land use systems. To analyse diversification activities in agriculture and food systems, scenarios can outline future contexts, opportunities and requirements in a consistent manner. Scenarios for agriculture and food systems have been developed at multiple scales for diverse sub-sectors and purposes.
In this session, we discuss five different cases in order to analyse the potential of scenarios for landscape-level sustainability and resilience research in agriculture. Thereby, we will focus on the framework conditions for diversification. The presented scenarios cover the agriculture and food systems at regional and national scales (Eur-Agri-SSPs and AT-Agri-SSPs), environmental scenarios taking the farmer in the focus, as well as scenarios that focus on specific management practices or technologies in agriculture (i.e. digitalisation (DAKIS), pesticide reduction, legume cultivation, and soil improving management (DE-SMPs)). This session brings together recent and ongoing scenario development activities. It will discuss exemplary current states of scenarios and scenario design in agriculture and food systems and addresses future needs of scenario design with a particular focus on diversification in agriculture and food systems.

 

6.5 Guiding principles for biodiversity-friendly agricultural landscapes

Convenors:
Douglas Landis, Michigan State University, United States of America
Claudia Bethwell, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
Maria Busse, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

The alarming decline of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes has prompted a wide range of responses. Most current efforts are focused on modifying practices at the field and farm scale, and frequently are focused on a few key taxa of concern. However, evidence increasingly suggests that modifying practices at the landscape scale may be required for effective conservation of biodiversity and related ecosystem services, but few guiding principles have been proposed. Effective management of agricultural landscapes to enhance biodiversity requires an integrative framework which includes the full range of the options for transforming the landscape into a more biodiversity-friendly one, the potentials of diversified land use systems, and their acceptability to regional actors. In this light, a process for identifying guiding principles is crucial for co-designing and successfully implementing biodiversity-enhancing strategies at the landscape scale. Developing these principles is an important and novel first step towards meeting societal needs for protecting biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services including agricultural productivity, and the development of problem-oriented collaborations.
In this session, we aim at bringing together and discussing innovative approaches of biodiversity promotion on the landscape scale to set up guiding principles and to explore how the principles can be regionally identified, established and used to promote biodiversity and meet the needs of land users and other actors. We welcome contributions from all world regions.