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Agricultural land use change for sustainable intensification

Project Leader
Mehdi Bano, Project Leader
Elise-Richter Stipendium
Type of Research
Basic Research
Gaube Veronika, Project Staff
Egger Claudine-Caroline, Project Staff
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Hydrology and Watermanagement
Institute of Social Ecology (SEC)
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
Is sustainable intensification possible in Austria? To answer this question a modelling framework of an agent-based model (ABM) linked to an eco-hydrological model to determine sustainable cropping practices will be developed.
The drivers of crop land use change will be collected and quantified for production regions belonging to an intensive agricultural landscape type. By applying the drivers together with different policy boundary conditions to an ABM, land use scenarios can be developed. These will be input into an eco-hydrological model concurrently with climate change simulations. From the resulting eco-hydrological simulations, quantifying the simulated yields together with alterations to surface water quality indicate future land use and management practices that can achieve sustainable intensification.
To establish the drivers of local land use, farmers in three cropped regions in Austria will be questioned on their influencing factors to change crops (financial and non-financial factors). These drivers for the specific agricultural landscape (intensive cropping systems in developed mid-latitude regions) will be integrated into an ABM developed at the Institute of Social Ecology (SEC).
Existing EU and regional policies (e.g. Common Agricultural Policy, European Water Framework Directive) will be used as conditions for guiding future crop landscape development to the period 2050. By providing the ABM with changes in boundary conditions, agents in the model (especially farmers) will take corresponding actions that affect the land use. The spatially distributed land use maps for each simulation will be used as an input for an eco-hydrological model. To determine a more complete set of potential future changes, each land use scenario will be applied in turn with one climate change simulation to the eco-hydrological model (modelling period 2040-2070, using a suite of climate simulations).
A comparison of simulated yields with the nitrate and phosphorus loads will enable selecting scenarios with highest yields and lowest nutrient losses. The outcomes will enhance understanding of human influences on nutrient flows from land to water. ALUCSI represents an important step for building Austrian capacity on land use change impacts to water quality, and furthermore bridges the social and natural sciences.
Hydrology; Sustainable agriculture; Social geography;
agent based model; decision-making factors; land use scenarios; nutrient losses; eco-hydrological model; water quality;
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