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STACCATO - Sustaining agricultural change through ecological engineering and optimal use of natural resources

English title Sustaining agricultural change through ecological engineering and optimal use of natural resources
Applicant Zimmermann Niklaus
Number 158395
Funding scheme FACCE Joint Programming Initiative
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2017
Approved amount 229'765.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Social geography and ecology

Keywords (6)

ecological engineering; sustainable development; ecosystem services; land use; global change; agricultural landscapes

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Landwirtschaftlich geprägte Landschaften werden oft intensiv genutzt. Dies reduziert die Biodiversität und - damit verbunden - andere Ökosystemleistungen wie Bestäubung, biologische Schädlingsbekämpfung oder Erholungsnutzung. Im Extremfall kann dies zu negativen Rückkoppelungen auf die Produktionsleistung führen. Niklaus Zimmermann und sein Team untersuchen zusammen mit europäischen Forschungspartnern in fünf Fallstudiengebieten, inwiefern sich Ökosystemleistungen durch ökologisches Engineering optimieren lassen.
Lay summary
Das Forschungsteam von Niklaus Zimmermann untersucht zusammen mit seinen europäischen Forschungspartnern Ökosystemleistung in landwirtschaftlich genutzten Landschaften, die stark vom Menschen geprägt sind. Das Projekt fokussiert auf Produktionsleistungen (Ertrag, Nährstoffkreisläufe usw.), Regulationsleistungen (biologische Schädlingsbekämpfung, andere positive und negative Interaktionen, Bestäubung usw.), sowie kulturelle Ökosystemleistungen (Erholung, Ästhetik, kulturelle Identität). Diese Leistungen werden einzeln und im Verbund hinsichtlich ihrer Sensitivität bezüglich Landnutzungs- und Klimaänderung untersucht. Ein spezieller Fokus gilt der Biodiversität: Welche Änderungen erfährt die Biodiversität als Folge von Klima- und Landnutzungsänderungen? Welchen Einfluss hat dies auf die Ökosystemleistungen und diese wiederum auf das sozio-ökonomische System? Diese Fragen untersuchen die Forschungsteams in fünf Fallstudiengebieten, wobei die lokalen Fragestellungen und Szenarien zusammen mit Anwendern aus Praxis und Politik definiert werden. Diese begleiten das Projekt und werden in die Umsetzung der Resultate einbezogen. Durch Optimieren von Landschaftsnutzungen (ökologisches Engineering) soll aufgezeigt werden, wie Landschaftsleistungen verbessert werden können und die Belastbarkeit (Resilienz) hinsichtlich des Klimawandels erhöht werden kann. Das Projekt wird dadurch Grundlagen liefern, wie in einer landwirtschaftlich intensiv genutzten Landschaft die Anordnung und Dichte ökologisch wertvoller Flächen zur Optimierung von Ökosystemleistungen führen können. So optimierte Landschaften sollen in der Lage, unter sich ändernden (Klima, Landnutzung) Bedingungen sowohl eine höhere Produktionsleistung zu erbringen als auch kulturelle und Regulationsleistungen besser aufrecht zu erhalten, aber auch Klimaextreme besser abzufedern.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.07.2015

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les paysages à vocation agricole sont souvent exploités intensivement, réduisant la biodiversité et avec elle, d'autres services écosystémiques associés tels que la pollinisation, la régulation naturelle des ravageurs ou encore les activités de détente. Dans des cas extrêmes, une rétroaction négative sur les rendements agricoles peut être observée. L'équipe de Niklaus Zimmermann examine dans quelle mesure les services écosystémiques peuvent être optimisés par l'ingénierie écologique.
Lay summary
En collaboration avec des partenaires de recherche européens, Niklaus Zimmermann et son équipe examinent les services écosystémiques dans les paysages à très forte empreinte agricole. Le projet se concentre sur les services de production (rendement, cycle des nutriments...), les services de régulation (régulation des ravageurs, pollinisation...), ainsi que sur les services culturels (loisirs, aspect esthétique, identité culturelle). Ces services sont analysés, individuellement et en association, quant à leur sensibilité vis à vis du changement climatique et de l'usage des terres. Une attention particulière est portée à la biodiversité. Quels sont les impacts du changement climatique et de l'usage des terres sur cette dernière ? Et sur les services écosystémiques et sur le système socio-économique ? Les équipes analysent ces questions à partir de cinq sites d'étude en définissant, localement, les questions et les scénarios avec les usagers de la pratique et de la politique. Ces derniers accompagnent le projet et sont impliqués dans la mise en application de ses résultats.
L'objectif est de démontrer qu'en optimisant l'aménagement du paysage (ingénierie écologique), les prestations paysagères peuvent être améliorées et la résistance (résilience) au changement climatique accrue. Le projet fournira les bases pour guider les choix dans l'agencement et la densité des zones à haute valeur écologique afin de maximiser les services écosystémiques dans ces paysages à forte empreinte agricole. Ainsi, les paysages "optimisés" devraient, sous des conditions climatiques et d'usage des terres fluctuantes, être en mesure d'augmenter la production, de mieux maintenir les services culturels et de régulation ou encore de mieux amortir les évènements climatiques extrêmes.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.07.2015

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Agricultural landscapes are often subjected to intensive use. This reduces biodiversity and - in consequence - other ecosystem services like pollination, biological pest control, or recreational use. In extreme cases, this can lead to negative feedback effects on produc-tion efficiency. Niklaus Zimmermann and his team, in cooperation with European research partners, are using five case studies to examine to what extent ecosystem services can be optimized through ecological Engineering.
Lay summary
Niklaus Zimmermann’s research team, in cooperation with its European research partners, is examining ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes that are strongly influenced by human habitation.  The project focuses on production performance (yield, nutrient cycles, etc.), regulating services (biological pest control, other positive and negative interactions, pollination, etc.), as well as cultural ecosystem services (recreation, aesthetics, cultural identity). These services are examined individually and in combination regarding their sen-sitivity to changes in land-use and to climate change. Special emphasis is placed on biodi-versity: What changes occur in biodiversity as a result of climate change and changes in land-use? What effects does this have on ecosystem services and in turn on the socio-economic system? The research teams are investigating these questions in five case study areas, whereby the local questions and scenarios are defined in cooperation with actors from agricultural practice and politics. These actors are integrated in the project and will be involved in the implementation of the results. By means of land-use optimization (ecologi-cal engineering), the team aims to show how landscape services can be improved and their resilience to climate change can be increased. The project will deliver the foundations of how the structuring and density of ecologically valuable landscapes can be used to opti-mize ecosystem services in intensively used agricultural landscapes. Thus optimized, agri-cultural landscapes will be able to produce better yields, more effectively maintain cultural and regulating services, and better absorb climate extremes under changing conditions (climate, land-use).
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.07.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Of niches and distributions: range size increases with niche breadth both globally and regionally but regional estimates poorly relate to global estimates
Kambach Stephan, Lenoir Jonathan, Decocq Guillaume, Welk Erik, Seidler Gunnar, Dullinger Stefan, Gégout Jean-Claude, Guisan Antoine, Pauli Harald, Svenning Jens-Christian, Vittoz Pascal, Wohlgemuth Thomas, Zimmermann Niklaus E., Bruelheide Helge (2018), Of niches and distributions: range size increases with niche breadth both globally and regionally but regional estimates poorly relate to global estimates, in Ecography, 0(1), 2-3.
Long-term change in drivers of forest cover expansion: an analysis for Switzerland (1850-2000)
Loran Christin, Munteanu Catalina, Verburg Peter H., Schmatz Dirk R., Bürgi Matthias, Zimmermann Niklaus E. (2017), Long-term change in drivers of forest cover expansion: an analysis for Switzerland (1850-2000), in Regional Environmental Change, 17(8), 2223-2235.
Implementation and application of multiple potential natural vegetation models - a case study of Hungary
Somodi Imelda, Molnár Zsolt, Czúcz Bálint, Bede-Fazekas Ákos, Bölöni János, Pásztor László, Laborczi Annamária, Zimmermann Niklaus E. (2017), Implementation and application of multiple potential natural vegetation models - a case study of Hungary, in Journal of Vegetation Science, 28(6), 1260-1269.
Are forest disturbances amplifying or canceling out climate change-induced productivity changes in European forests?
Reyer Christopher P O, Bathgate Stephen, Blennow Kristina, Borges Jose G, Bugmann Harald, Delzon Sylvain, Faias Sonia P, Garcia-Gonzalo Jordi, Gardiner Barry, Gonzalez-Olabarria Jose Ramon, Gracia Carlos, Hernández Juan Guerra, Kellomäki Seppo, Kramer Koen, Lexer Manfred J, Lindner Marcus, van der Maaten Ernst, Maroschek Michael, Muys Bart, Nicoll Bruce, Palahi Marc, Palma João HN, Paulo Joana A, Peltola Heli, et al. (2017), Are forest disturbances amplifying or canceling out climate change-induced productivity changes in European forests?, in Environmental Research Letters, 12(3), 034027-034027.
Invasive plants threaten the least mobile butterflies in Switzerland
Gallien Laure, Altermatt Florian, Wiemers Martin, Schweiger Oliver, Zimmermann Niklaus E. (2017), Invasive plants threaten the least mobile butterflies in Switzerland, in Diversity and Distribution, 23, 185-195.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
ADEPT - Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania Romania (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
UAB - Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
SLU - Swedish Univeristy of Agricultural Sciences Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Umweltforschungszentrum UFZ Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
AU - Agriculture University Plovdiv Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Landschaftsökologie / WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
LfULG – Saxon State Office of Environment, Agriculture and Geology Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
UBB - Babes-Bolyai University Romania (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
USap - Sapientia University Romania (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
BAS - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Animal Diversity and Resources Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
IRL/ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Other activities Farmer information on fieldwork and goals German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Abstract

In order to advance long-term sustainable development of land use systems, against risks arising from multiple aspects of global change, STACCATO plans to quantify the dependence of ecosystem functions (ESF) and the services (ESS) they generate on environmental pressures in representative agriculturally dominated landscapes in Europe. The focus is on local as well as regional land use intensity (including the socio- economic background) and biodiversity, and the potential impacts of future climate and land use change.Following the framework of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), we define supporting services as ESF and deal with selected characteristic elements of 2 of the 3 service strands defined by the MEA, namely a) Provisioning Services (PS): nutrient cycling & crop production; b) Regulating Services (RS): biocontrol & pollination; and c) Cultural Services (CS): identity with cultural landscapes. Studies are planned in representative regions across Europe, in landscapes along a gradient reflecting changing geo-climatic and land use intensity, and socio-economic conditions.Focus will be on landscapes shaped by annual crops and/or semi-natural grasslands. In particular it intends to investigate the interactions between annual crops and the surrounding landscapes in the light of ecological engineering as a tool for eco-functional intensification. Ecological Engineering is an emerging discipline, concerned with design, monitoring and construction of agro-ecosystems in order to maximise ecosystem services through exploiting natural regulation mechanisms instead of suppressing them. The overall objective is the elaboration and testing of generally applicable principles within the frame of ecological engineering.STACCATO will develop valuations of ESS through monetary and non-monetary methods. The most meaningful monetary costs to be calculated are (potential) damage costs (e.g. due to losses in production, biocontrol or pollination), management/repair costs (e.g. hand pollination after loss of pollinators), and avoidance cost (precautionary measures) as these manifest themselves in real markets.STACCATO will test and improve already existing indicators for ESF/ESS and their values - building upon but going beyond existing indicators sets like those of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and the SEBI (Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators). Beyond the applicability of the existing ones, specific integrative indicators for each of the strands will be tested for their suitability, e.g., the diversity of indicator plants (incl. weeds; PS/RS), pollinators (incl. butterflies), and natural enemies of crop pests (RS).As core output, STACCATO will develop guidelines for optimising ESF/ESS and their stabilisation under future climate and land use change. STACCATO will analyse the potential of ecological engineering as a tool for eco-functional intensification to achieve this. Ecological engineering can in principle be applied in conventional and integrated as well as organic agriculture. STACCATO will test the implementation and transferability across regions. The latter is to be achieved through inclusion e.g., of local agricultural agencies and extension services as associated partners.Implementation will include assessments of ESS risks and opportunities in the light of changes in land use intensity accompanied by the loss of natural and semi-natural habitats, biodiversity and climate.
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