"Benefits, costs and risks of Diversified Farming Systems"

Rapid world-wide population growth and associated agricultural intensification leads to social, economic and ecological problems. These problems exacerbate the existing challenges of agricultural management to maintain ecosystem functions and their associated ecosystem services. To mitigate these problems, scientists propose a new model called “Diversified Farming System” (DFS). The DFS model aims to promote critical ecosystem services with a range of agricultural management practices, such as reduced tillage, intercropping, crop rotation, maintenance of hedges or flower strips, across multiple spatial and temporal scales. These management practices may have economic costs as they reduce the amount of land under cultivation or otherwise reduce crop yield. The aim of this study is to evaluate the ecological and economic potential of different DFS management practices and to highlight how they can enhance ecosystem services while being economically viable. To test the economic costs and ecological benefits of DFS management practices we will use a systematic review to rank practices according to ecological benefits and economic costs and we will investigate the risks using a questionnaire designed for German farmers. Additionally, to demonstrate the potential of implementation of DFS management practices we will create a business simulation game.


Prof. Dr. Teja Tscharntke, head of the division Agroecology, Dept. of Crop Sciences, Georg-August-University Goettingen

Prof. Dr. Oliver Musshoff, head of the division Farm Management, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-University Goettingen

Dr. Jacqueline Loos, division Agroecology, Dept. of Crop Sciences, Georg-August-University Goettingen