Die Auswirkungen einer großflächigen Verbreitung von agrarökologischen Maßnahmen auf die Nachhaltigkeit der europäischen Landwirtschaft im Jahr 2050

Translated title of the contribution: Impacts of Scaling up Agroecology on the Sustainability of European Agriculture in 2050

Andreas Mayer*, Gerald Kalt, Lisa Kaufmann, Elin Röös, Adrian Muller, Rainer Weisshaidinger, Anita Frehner, Nicolas Roux, Pete Smith, Michaela C. Theurl, Sarah Matej, Karlheinz Erb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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The European Commission recently embraced the concept of agroecology as a pathway to reduce negative impacts from agri-food systems on the environment. So far, it remains unclear whether agroecology can deliver on these high hopes if implemented on a large scale. We here assess socio-economic and environmental implications of multiple agroecological futures in the European Union in 2050, based on a novel diagnostic scenario approach, i.e. the biomass balancing model BioBaM-GHG 2.0. We find that agroecological measures from the plot to the food systems level can indeed reduce environmental pressures while maintaining domestic food availability within the EU. Such measures are, for example, more hedgerows on croplands or reduced biomass harvest on high natural value – HNV grasslands. However, a key prerequisite is an overall reduction of the food system's size (based on the reduction of animal production, food wastes, and export production) and an optimised crop-livestock integration. Only then does the transformation towards an agroecological agri-food system in the EU not risk overstretching domestic land availability or produce insufficient agricultural commodities. Mitigating the accompanied trade-off of reduced farm income is a central mandate for policy development aimed at re-designing agriculture in Europe to align with the Green Deal goals.

Translated title of the contributionImpacts of Scaling up Agroecology on the Sustainability of European Agriculture in 2050
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
UNISECO (‘Understanding & improving the sustainability of agroecological farming systems in the EU’) received funding from the European Union's H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773901 ( https://uniseco‐project.eu/ ).
The authors would like to thank all stakeholders in the EU and case study level activities of the UNISECO project for their contributions. The authors also acknowledge the contributions of partners in the UNISECO project to the research on which this article is based. Thanks also to two anonymous referees and the Editor for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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