In our institute we assess the ecological and economic consequences of new crop production and crop protection concepts. For this purpose, we use indicators to measure the sustainability of crop protection practices and allow assessment of biodiversity in crop production systems and the cultivated landscapes.
Crop production occupies about 50% of the total land area in Germany. The aim of our scientific work is to estimate the consequences of different cultivation methods as comprehensively and spatially differentiated as possible. Aspects of resource efficiency, protection and conservation of biodiversity as well as the economic viability of different cultivation options are taken into account.
With the help of cost-benefit-analysis, the institute evaluates various issues in crop cultivation from an economic point of view and thus offers a holistic assessment approach.
The (further) development of organic farming is an important task of the JKI. The coordination and scientific management of this task is based at our institute with the Task Force for Organic Agriculture.
Sustainability or Eco friendliness of plant protection and cultivation strategies are not easy to quantify. . Accordingly, we are looking for/develop and adapt suitable indicators that can be used to derive sustainability and environmental effects. These include, for example, SYNOPS (assessment of the risk potential of chemical pesticide use), the Agricultural Bird Indicator and the Carbon Footprint. Our own experiments and surveys on (practical) farms (see knowledge portals PAPA, Network of reference farms for plant protection) provide us with the necessary data.
Permanent small structures and landscape elements in the agricultural landscape, such as hedges, copses, rows of trees, fringe structures along paths and water bodies are important ecological infrastructures of the agricultural area. They interact closely with the cultivated areas. As natural refugial areas they provide nesting, feeding and wintering habitats for insects and other organisms. This relevance is increasingly acknowledged in political strategies (e.g. in the EU Farm2Fork strategy). By securing, enhancing, creating and connecting such habitats, insects, agricultural birds and mammals should be provided for example with an improved food resource availability.
Therefore, we investigate the long-term effects of landscape structure elements on biodiversity in cropland, e.g. via specific indicator species groups. Recommendations for sustainable and biodiversity-promoting cultivation methods can thus be derived. In our institute we use GIS and remote sensing techniques to analyze the spatial and temporal development of semi-natural small structures at regular/temporal intervals for the whole of Germany. The identification and classification of different landscape elements is also valuable input data for spatio-temporal models to simulate the state and development of the agricultural habitat under changing conditions.