Regional adaptation of crop rotations as key factor to improve sustainability - integrative assessment of agricultural, ecological and economic impacts

M Glemnitz, (submitter)


Recent impact assessment add to growing evidence that the environmental effects of cropping interact with the regional landscape. Not only the environmental risks are unevenly distributed regionally but also the agricultural feasibility and economic attractivity of cropping options. Farmers act divergently depending on the respective soil quality of their land. Moreover counter measures to reduce negative impacts of single cropping practices have a varying efficiency at different regions. Thus sustainability of cropping systems call for both integrative assessments over different kinds of indicators and for considering their regionality through regional adaptation.Our paper presents a methodology for a comparative, data driven impact analysis which was developed in the project EVA. Plot experiments on up to nine different crop rotations build the core of the research. The assessment on the ecological effects of various cropping options within the EVA project was based on empirical data gained from plot trials at ten different experimental sites across Germany. The ecological effects have been assessed by using different well established agro-ecosystems models. Data elevation at the experimental plots followed an unified, standardized protocol (methods hand book). Based on the experimental trial data an indicator set comprising 5 agricultural, 17 different single ecological and 4 economic indicators as well as 4 indicators addressing different aspects of resource efficiency have been calculated.Our results address the main process drivers and their interactions. The present work demonstrates that the design of CRs and regional adopted management practices can be an appropriate steering option improving sustainability in land use management.

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