Resources / ecosystems
The research focuses on the following areas: interdependencies between marketable and non-marketable ecosystem services in agricultural production, knowledge expansion in the field of biodiversity economics, trade-offs and synergies between production intensities and overall environmental impact (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions), adaptation as well as mitigation responses to climate change related risks. The aim is on the one hand to pinpoint sustainable development paths and optimized farm management options for agricultural producers, and on the other hand to provide a scientific basis for efficient environmental policy making in agriculture. The empirical research work has a strong quantitative focus. Basis is a farm level approach that is guided by microeconomic theories and sound conceptual frameworks. In terms of methodology the research group makes use of integrated bio-economic modelling, econometric examination of panel and cross section data and experimental econometrics.
GRASSWORKS: What works and why in grassland restoration in Germany? A multi-region social-ecological assessment and pilot implementation of successful approaches.
GRASSWORKS aims to contribute to the comprehensive and global transformation to reversing species and habitat loss and focus on a greater appreciation of grassland biodiversity and its many ecosystem functions and services. The project focuses on three model regions in North, Central and South Germany, over three regions that vary in their economic, social-ecological and socioeconomic contextual conditions. The project is based on the hypothesis that biodiversity restoration success depends on the extent to which projects address the diverse levels of ecological complexity, as well as the social engagement of diverse stakeholders. This is a restoration project in the German FEdA Initiative (Research Initiative for the Preservation of Biodiversity www.feda.bio/en/).
GRASSWORKS is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Funding period: October 2021 - September 2024
PONDERFUL- POND Ecosystems for Resilient FUture Landscapes in a changing climate
Ponds and "pondscapes" (networks of ponds) are crucial for biodiversity conservation and their multiple societally beneficial ecosystem services (ES) provide the means to play a crucial role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Due to their small size, the significance of ponds has long been underestimated. However, research over the last 10-15 years has shown that their abundance, heterogeneity, exceptional biodiversity, inherent naturalness and biogeochemical potency help to improve the environmental state at catchment, landscape, and potentially at continental level. Despite their importance, ponds are largely neglected in water- and nature-related policies and there is insufficient knowledge on how to manage and restore ponds to maximize nature-based solutions (NBS) to increase resilience of ecosystems and society to climate change. The overarching objective of PONDERFUL is to generate and integrate biodiversity, ecosystems, social, economic and policy knowledge to design and implement evidence-based, nature-based strategies using pondscapes for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
The project brings together experienced researchers and stakeholders from nine European states, from Turkey and Uruguay. It will run for 4 years.
PONDERFUL is funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research H2020.
(Dr. Maria Vrachioli, Dr. Amer Ait Sidhoum)
Accompanying evaluation of submeasures of the Bavarian Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020
Since the communitarisation of agricultural policy in 1962 the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a central policy area of the European Union (EU). Ever since a big part of the EU budget is used for this area, however, the share of the overall budget has been decreasing continuously over the past years.
Agricultural expenditures are financed by two different funds. Direct payments to farmers and policies to regulate or support the agricultural markets are financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), while the development of rural areas is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The implementation of the EAFRD funding takes place in a decentralised manner through Member States based on respective “Rural Development Programmes”.
1.5 billion € from the EAFRD are available for Bavaria in the funding period 2014 to 2020. Including Bavarian and national means, the RDP encompasses a total finance volume of approximately 3.5 billion €. .
To assess the impact of the programme and to improve RDPs, the EU requires a careful evaluation. The Chair of Agricultural Production and Resource Economics is responsible for this task in cooperation with the Research Group for Agricultural and Regional Development Triesdorf and Ecozept. Specifically, the chair is focusing on agri-environmental measures as part of the RDP. Based on matching approaches and difference-in-difference estimations, programme effects are being quantified. Suitable indicators help to model environmental effects. Farm-level effects of programme participation will also be analysed.
The project is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry. (Philipp Mennig)
FEEDBACK - Finding Ecological and socio-Economic system Dependencies in Biodiversity conservation and Agricultural land use for the management of Key system drivers
Tipping points occur in both ecological and the socio-economic systems, and the dynamics of these systems may be linked, such that management of tipping points requires a joint analysis of the combined socio-ecological system. This proposal aims to contribute to a better management and prevention of tipping points, by using a modelling approach that is both guided and tested with data from model regions. We will set up coupled socio-economic, ecological and agricultural models, to understand the conditions under which tipping points in ecological and socio-economic systems are causally linked. The output of the socio-economic models, in particular land-use allocation, will be the input for the agricultural and ecological model. Conversely, the output of these models, in particular biodiversity, yield and ecosystem services, will serve as input for the socio-economic models. Modelling will be guided by scenarios including global change drivers such as climate change but also market shocks or the rural exodus. Our project will focus on tipping points at the landscape scale in the range of 100–1000 square km, to include a mechanistic understanding of land-use decisions. We identified a number of candidate model regions, in Europe, Africa and South America. Scenario development, model set-up, and the test of the modelling using empirical data will be carried out together with stakeholders. The preliminary phase of the project will be used to review the knowledge on coupled tipping points in the socio-ecological system, to develop the modelling framework, and to select model regions for the main phase. In the main phase of the project modelling and empirical tests will be carried out. Model outcomes will be translated into suggestions for management strategies in cooperation with stakeholders.
The duration of the project proposal is 12 month in cooperation with the chairgroups Weisser, Kollmann, Rammig, and Knoke. (Prof. Dr. Johannes Sauer)
BLIZ - Interactions between society, land use, ecosystem services and biodiversity in Bavaria until 2100
How will ecosystem services and biodiversity develop in Bavaria? The interdisciplinary joint project BLIZ takes a look into the future and designs new scenarios for a sustainable management of ecosystems in Bavaria. The aim of the group of six subprojects at four universities is to process concrete instructions and estimate possible uncertainties.
In subproject 4, the Chair of Agricultural Production and Resource Economics and the Institute of Forest Management (Prof. Dr. Knoke) will analyze the impact of climate change on land use and multifunctionality. The land use change in Bavaria will be analyzed retrospective as well as predictive. Recent changes in the Bavarian landscape will be investigated by means of remote sensing methods. Based on the predictions of the climate-sensitive ecosystem model LPJ-GUESS (subproject 1), decisions of farmers and foresters will be modeled. The results include especially economic motivated as well as multifunctional developments (in consideration of ecosystem services) of future land use options (agroforestry, plantations for fuel wood).
BLIZ is supported and executed as part of the Bavarian network for climate research. (Dr. Denitsa Angelova)
EFFECT - Environmental public goods From Farming through Effective Contract Targeting
The European agricultural land areas provide important and valuable goods in the form of food, fibre and biomass for the world. They are also crucial for the provision of a number of environmental and climate goods and services. EU member states have implemented agri-environmental schemes, investment grants for environmental technologies, and private actors have established environmental certification and labeling schemes targeting these services. However, many initiatives are arguably not cost-effective in boosting environmental and climate service provision, may be skewed in terms of distributional impacts, increase risks to farmers, or involve excessive transaction costs. The EU H2020 project EFFECT will develop and pilot a theoretically well-founded and empirically well-adapted package of new contractual frameworks. This will enable farmers to reconcile agricultural production with enhanced delivery of environmental and climate public goods and services to the benefit of society at large. EFFECT pursues this through a transdisciplinary effort involving a review of past successes and failures; and development and test of new forms of contracts.
The EFFECT consortium, 20 partners from ten different European countries, combines agricultural and environmental science knowledge with theoretical and empirical insights from law, political science and economics. It further combines efforts from researchers and multiple practice partners and stakeholders to ensure that lessons learned from previous initiatives and the testing of emerging contract frameworks are validated on the ground. The ambition of EFFECT, which is based on the solid experience in the consortium, is to facilitate that co-developed agri-environmental contract arrangements are being put to actual use towards the end of the project. Furthermore, to ensure durable impact of the project, EFFECT initiates a cross European innovation process, supports capacity building among decision making bodies and develops a policy evaluation framework.
The Chair Group of Production and Resource Economics is responsible for the project's fourth work package, which deals with the environmental and economic effectiveness of existing and innovative schemes.
(Dr. Amer Ait Sidhoum, Dr. Domna Tzemi)
Net-CSA: Academic Network for Evaluating the Impact of Climate-Smart Agriculture in Colombia
The overall goal of the project, which is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, is to establish a long-term and fruitful cooperation in research and teaching in the fields of natural resource, environmental and agricultural economics between the Chair Group of Production and Resource Economics (PuR) and partners from Colombian universities and research institutes, especially with researchers from EAFIT University.
Two pillars form the basis of the project: scientific excellence and capacity building in terms of human resource development and research network establishment. The scientific aim of the planned research cooperation is to investigate the implications of the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices on-farm performance, ecosystem services and biodiversity for different land-use systems in Colombia. Bilateral cooperation is crucial for the success of the planned research as it is the expertise of the Colombian and German partners in combination with Colombian knowledge about local circumstances that allows pursuing the innovative research idea. The German-Colombian research collaboration will profit from the Colombian peace agreement signed in 2016, thanks to which the security situation in rural areas has returned to normal and is no longer an obstacle to doing research in agricultural, natural resource and environmental economics. While the first pillar of the project, as just briefly described, focuses on a well-defined research idea, the second pillar includes staff exchanges, joint supervisions of Ph.D. theses, workshops on current research topics, excursions and setting up a research network. (Philipp Mennig, Roberto Villalba)
ZA-NExUS: Sustainable agricultural policy – conserving nature, protecting the environment
Project partners: Wageningen University (Coordinator), Technical University of Munich, University of Osnabrück and Justus Liebig University Gießen
Funded by the German Federal Environment Agency the project „Sustainable agricultural policy – conserving nature, protecting the environment” develops scientifically based options for the future development of agricultural policy from the perspective of nature conservation and environmental protection. With a focus on Germany and Europe, the project conducts a systematic review of the systemic environmental impacts of agricultural activities. On this base, the project develops a vision for a multifunctional agriculture that is compatible with nature conservation and environmental protection, as well alternative strategic options which are also assessed. (Prof. Dr. Johannes Sauer)
SIGMA-Nexus - Sustainable Innovation and Governance in the Mediterranean Area for the Water-Ecosystem-Food Nexus
Climate change and rapid population growth threaten food, water and ecosystem security in the Mediterranean region. The Water-Ecosystems-Food (WEF) Nexus concept builds on the complex (spatial, temporal, institutional, jurisdictional) interdependencies between water, ecosystems and food security as it presents an integrated approach to resource management. The overarching objective of SIGMA-Nexus is to develop climate resilience in the Mediterranean region by proposing sustainability pathways within the WEF Nexus framework. SIGMA-Nexus will analyse the socio-economic and technical characteristics of several case study sites in Egypt and Greece to develop the WEF Nexus for different hydrological, agricultural and environmental settings in the Mediterranean region. This will provide a basis for SIGMA-Nexus’ targeted interdisciplinary efforts to address synergies and conflicts observed in the three facets of the WEF Nexus, to draw lessons from previous successes or failures, to develop frameworks that advocate the efficient, integrated use and management of land and water, and to break disciplinary silos.
SIGMA-Nexus aims to accelerate knowledge diffusion and support decision-making that can minimize conflicts and maximize synergies of cross-institutional and sectoral management of water and land resources through participatory multi-stakeholder engagement activities. The proposed project will design and prioritize Nexus practices that encourage scalability and appraise interventions that balance ecological, socio-economic and natural resource aspects. Finally, SIGMA-Nexus will develop and promote a WEcoF digital innovation portal that will not only promote co-design of Nexus initiatives but also act as a capacity-building tool.
The four year project is funded by the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and the EU Horizon 2020 programme. (Maria Vrachioli)