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  • Landwirtschaft für gesunde Böden und ArtenvielfaltAgriculture for healthy soils and biodiversity: agricultural systems for the future
  • Landwirtschaft im KlimawandelAgriculture under climate change: adaptation through diversification
  • Landwirtschaft und DigitalisierungAgriculture and digitalization: synergies through emerging technologies
  • Landwirtschaft im WandelAgriculture in transition: the role of humans and society
  • Landwirtschaft in der GlobalisierungAgriculture and globalization: food security and sustainability

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Reshaping Landscapes by Rethinking Agriculture

 

Our interdisciplinary research addresses important challenges facing society as a whole and current megatrends: climate change, sustainable land use, food security, digitalization, and the protection and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.​

Global trends
  • MyTitle: Population Growth
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    MyTextfeld: Global population growth has slowed to some extent. On average, the world‘s population is expected to expand from currently 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050. As the population increases, so will the average income, leading to greater demand for resource-intensive products such as meat and, ultimately, to higher greenhouse gas emissions per capita.
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    Population Growth

    Global population growth has slowed to some extent. On average, the world‘s population is expected to expand from currently 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050. As the population increases, so will the average income, leading to greater demand for resource-intensive products such as meat and, ultimately, to higher greenhouse gas emissions per capita.
  • MyTitle: Food Security
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    MyTextfeld: In order to meet this growing demand, approximately 50% more food must be produced by 2050. Waste must also be reduced: about one third of all food products currently end up as garbage. But food security is also a question of equitable distribution: globally, 1.9 billion people are overweight while around 815 million are starving.
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    Food Security

    In order to meet this growing demand, approximately 50% more food must be produced by 2050. Waste must also be reduced: about one third of all food products currently end up as garbage. But food security is also a question of equitable distribution: globally, 1.9 billion people are overweight while around 815 million are starving.
  • MyTitle: Climate Change
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    MyTextfeld: All over the globe, yields are reduced due to more extreme weather such as heatwaves, droughts and floods, as well as rising temperatures and ozone levels. Agriculture itself must be better adapted, but can also play a more active role in protecting the climate. Plants and soils sequester and store large amounts of carbon while agriculture, forestry and other land use types release about 24% of the world´s greenhouse gases.
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    Climate Change

    All over the globe, yields are reduced due to more extreme weather such as heatwaves, droughts and floods, as well as rising temperatures and ozone levels. Agriculture itself must be better adapted, but can also play a more active role in protecting the climate. Plants and soils sequester and store large amounts of carbon while agriculture, forestry and other land use types release about 24% of the world´s greenhouse gases.
  • MyTitle: Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity
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    MyTextfeld: Ecosystem services such as clean drinking water, insect pollination and even recreational aspects are directly influenced by agricultural land use and climatic changes. Every year, the global damage caused by degradation, i.e. the loss of ecosystem services, totals 5.5 to 9.3 trillion euros. Biodiversity is also threatened by both mankind and the climate: currently, one million species are considered endangered.
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    Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity

    Ecosystem services such as clean drinking water, insect pollination and even recreational aspects are directly influenced by agricultural land use and climatic changes. Every year, the global damage caused by degradation, i.e. the loss of ecosystem services, totals 5.5 to 9.3 trillion euros. Biodiversity is also threatened by both mankind and the climate: currently, one million species are considered endangered.
  • MyTitle: Digitalization
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    MyTextfeld: Digitalization and new technologies such as robotics and sensor technology can be used to develop more sustainable and climate-resilient cropping systems. The collection and smart combination of environmental data can help us to better adapt cropping, harvesting and operational planning to site-specific conditions, thereby protecting ecosystem services, biodiversity and the climate. The goal is to improve ecological diversity without creating economic losses.
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    Digitalization

    Digitalization and new technologies such as robotics and sensor technology can be used to develop more sustainable and climate-resilient cropping systems. The collection and smart combination of environmental data can help us to better adapt cropping, harvesting and operational planning to site-specific conditions, thereby protecting ecosystem services, biodiversity and the climate. The goal is to improve ecological diversity without creating economic losses.
  • MyTitle: 9,7 BN
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    MyTextfeld: world population until 2050
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    Viele Menschen | Many people

    9,7 BN

    world population until 2050
  • MyTitle: 50 %
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    MyTextfeld: more food demand until 2050
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    Getreideähren | cereal ears

    50 %

    more food demand until 2050
  • MyTitle: 24 %
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    MyTextfeld: climate-relevant greenhouse gases from agriculture and forestry
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    Bäume und Tracktor | Trees and tractor

    24 %

    climate-relevant greenhouse gases from agriculture and forestry
  • MyTitle: 1 MIO
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    MyTextfeld: species worldwide are considered endangerd
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    Blumen und Biene | Flowers and bee

    1 MIO

    species worldwide are considered endangerd
  • MyTitle: 30
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    MyTextfeld: plant species cover 95% of vegetable foods
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    Acker mit einer Fruchtart | Field with one kind of fruit

    30

    plant species cover 95% of vegetable foods

 

 

Our research question

How do we feed a growing world population without harming the climate, the environment and natural resources?

 

Landschaftsprozesse 

Agriculture for healthy soils and biodiversity: agricultural systems for the future

Plant production in the 21st century should ensure a high-quality food supply. This means using less fertilizer and chemical synthetic pesticides and reducing the discharge of harmful substances and greenhouse gases. Modern plant production must also take into account the loss of species it causes. And pursue the goal of high biodiversity.

To meet these challenges, modern agricultural systems must become more diverse and promote the positive effects between the (crop)plant, the soil and its microbes.
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Landschaftsprozesse 

Agriculture under climate change: adaptation through diversification

Today's agriculture is closely linked to climate change: Large quantities of greenhouse gases are released in particular through fertilization, animal husbandry and land use change. Extreme weather conditions and climatic changes lead to severe yield losses and fundamental changes in farming conditions.

However, the enormous social significance of agriculture is primarily due to its potential for shaping the future: If production processes are adapted, they can play an active role in shaping climate adaptation and climate protection. To this end, agriculture must be viewed in a landscape context.
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Landschaftsprozesse 

Agriculture and digitalization: synergies through emerging technologies

Digitalization and new technologies have a profound impact on the development of agriculture: They are changing production systems, placing greater demands on science and creating new professions in agriculture. With innovative, site-adapted farming practices food production and the protection and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, such as clean water and fertile soils, can be combined towards new opportunities for innovative products, business models and dynamically growing markets.
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Landschaftsprozesse 

Agriculture in transition: the role of humans and society

Land is vital to society and often the object of conflicts due to conflicting land use interest. It provides the basis for healthy food, renewable resources, recreation, biodiversity and ecosystem services such as pollination and flood protection. Because not everything can be achieved in parallel, a responsible and forward-looking approach to competing interests plays a central role. Solutions must be suitable for the respective landscape and jointly developed with all relevant actors.
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Landschaftsprozesse 

Agriculture and globalization: food security and sustainability

One tenth of humanity does not have a sufficient supply of food. Globalization, population growth and climate change pose risks for developing and emerging countries, but also offer opportunities. The risk of land use conflicts, food crises and the resulting social conflicts as well as of migration is increasing. These risks can only be avoided by developing sustainable strategies for agriculture.
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Landschaftsprozesse 

Research for society

Our research questions are closely oriented to social needs, national and international framework conditions and new scientific findings. We constantly adapt our research activities to these change processes, advise and accompany politics, practice and society with knowledge-based solutions. ZALF research goes far beyond the focal points described here. You will soon find an overview of our topics and experts in our "Topics from A to Z" section.

 

​Our research strategy

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