Institute of

Farm Economics

Environmental Protection and Sustainability

Resource efficiency in agriculture has to be improved tremendously.
Resource efficiency in agriculture has to be improved tremendously. (© aid infodienst/Peter Meier)

Even though substantial progress has been achieved in many respects, environmental problems induced by agriculture still represent a major challenge to our society. The tendency towards reducing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes continues despite the designation of protected areas (FFH, Natura 2000) and different agri-environmental measures. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions further and achieve the goals of the Kyoto protocol, additional efforts are needed. Also agriculture should make a contribution since land use and land use changes have a considerable impact on climate change. In many regions the discharge of nutrients into rivers and seas and the nitrate pollution of the groundwater are too high. One reason is the high nitrogen surplus, which is on average 100 kilogrammes per hectare utilised agricultural area and thus still above the target of the Federal Government of 80 kilogrammes per hectare.

To reduce these and other environmental problems, the resource efficiency in agriculture needs to be improved significantly. But how is this possible without compromising competitiveness? How it can be achieved that environmental protection plays a greater role in the decision making of farmers and which contribution can agricultural policy make?

In our research we examine the incentives and the on-farm impact of environmental policy measures as well as environmental and economic effects at EU level using the model CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact Modelling System). In addition, we analyse the profitability of environmental friendly land use systems such as organic farming. Further, we investigate how the impact of environmental policy measures in agriculture could be better evaluated and how its cost effectiveness could be enhanced. To increase agricultural sustainability, we explore how a sustainable production can be identified and through which processes and measures it could be supported.

Projects of Environmental Protection and Sustainability