Eco-efficiency of farming systems & evaluation of agri-environmental schemes

In this research area, we investigate eco-efficiency of farming systems at field level, farm level, and at the landscape level.

At the field level, we evaluate farming practices and their role for production efficiency. This includes, for instance, preventive weed management strategies as a tool to reduce reliance on herbicides in arable farming. European farmers are obliged to reduce pesticide use by adopting the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (European Directive 2009/128/EC on sustainable use of pesticides). Yet, the management of weeds constitutes a challenge for the production of high-quality agronomic crops. Investigating the role of herbicides application for production efficiency, we aim to draw conclusions about possible policy interventions on the use of herbicides.

At the farm level, we investigate the impact of AES participation on environmentally relevant farming inputs using the potential outcome framework. Further, we analyze land manager’s acceptance of result-based AES. These result-based schemes are targeted at specific environmental issues and farmers receive a premium for reaching a pre-determined environmental target, monitored through indicators, e.g., a fixed amount of insect species, independent of how they achieve these goals. We aim at gaining insights into farmers’ practical decision-making in the context of result-based AES. W

At the landscape level, we investigate ecological improvement potentials of agricultural landscapes using eco-efficiency analysis approaches. To describe agricultural landscapes' ecological functions, we derive indicators to capture landscapes’ composition and configuration using highly granular spatial land use data. Based on our results, we aim at (i) deriving locally adapted policies for more landscape heterogeneity and connectivity, and at (ii) providing a tool to monitor local land management for effective policy design and implementation.

Project team:
Prof. Dr. Silke Hüttel, Dr. Stefan Seifert, Reinhard Uehleke (University of Göttingen)

Collaboration partners:
Dr. Heidi Leonhardt (BOKU, Vienna)
Prof. Dr. Bärbel Gerowitt (Rostock University)
Dr. Sabine Andert (HS Weihenstephan-Triesdorf)
Dr. Saskia Wolff (HU Berlin)
Tobia Lakes (HU Berlin)
Emily Burchfield (Emory University)
Andrea Rissing (Arizona State University)