Research topics

Sustainable development of landscapes

Land use is in a constant transformation process. Adaptation to constantly changing framework conditions, for example due to environmental influences as well as social and political change, requires a constant adjustment of human actions.

As much as climate change is a hardly calculable factor, the sustainable development of agricultural landscapes requires a coupling of production-oriented planning with new strategies to ensure ecological diversity and equal opportunities for alternative socio-technical management systems.

Goals:

  • Description and assessment of agricultural systems, taking into account genetic, species and habitat diversity, the numerous ecological benefits and cultural achievements.
  • Application of the Ecosystem Services approach in the development of assessment methods
  • Identification and development of targets and monitoring criteria through stakeholder-oriented research and application of participatory methods

Strategies in land use

The constant transformation process affects the distribution of different production systems in the country. The search for new models for economic production leads from classical approaches (projects, products) to integrated strategies (platforms, management system solutions). This development is influenced, for example, by the increasing digitalisation of applications in agricultural engineering, by new communication methods between politics and society, agriculture and research, and by changed conditions for risk assessment, insurance, sales and marketing using new techniques in data evaluation (big data). Policymakers are responding with demands for research to increase knowledge transfer from research to society and for participation in the development of sustainability-oriented innovations in cooperation with agriculture and related business sectors.

Goals:

  • Evaluation of strategic developments through media analysis
  • Analysis of historically grown structural differences between regions
  • Analysis of actor networks
  • Development of methods for knowledge transfer
  • Derivation of recommendations for action for politics and agriculture

Innovations and the future of agricultural systems

The future of agricultural systems currently seems to depend on some radical changes in structure and organization. This is shown by an increasing number of projects which have set themselves the task of developing innovations which are not only more efficient and resource-saving, but also reflect the state of the art in terms of energy sources and networks, data infrastructure use and the closure of material cycles in biomass production and utilization. This is also accompanied by changes in business models: increasing standardization and integration. The challenge lies in the great uncertainty of economic success in the interaction between the economy, actors and the ecological environment. Innovations therefore not only include new products and services, but also new approaches for evaluation, categorization and risk analysis, algorithms for decision support in production management, development of measures to improve the resilience of crops and livestock, measures for incentives, information or advice as well as training and learning.

Goals:

  • socio-economic research support for innovation processes in relation to sustainability and climate-friendly agriculture
  • Categorization and parameterization of innovation factors based on different cluster approaches and semantic analysis
  • Analysis of the effects of innovations on the environment and society
  • Sustainability assessment of innovations