Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

EU projects

CONSOLE : Agroecological transition pathways in arable farming

AREFLH presents the study of “Agroecological transition pathways in arable farming”, extracted from the website of the CONSOLE programme.



CONSOLE logoThe Agro-ecological transition pathways in arable farming are suitable strategies and incentive mechanisms . They are co-constructed with a local Multi-Actor Platform (MAP), putting a specific focus on result-oriented approaches. Participatory decision support tools are applied to assess the current environmental, economic and social situation of arable farms in Lower Saxony (Germany). The outcome is used to identify potential for agro-ecological improvements. 

In intensive arable regions like the Nienburg district in Lower Saxony the uptake of current agri-environment schemes is low and their performance unsatisfactory.

Nine arable farms are assessed using the participatory decision support tools SMART, Cool Farm Tool and COMPAS to better understand current sustainability issues and barriers in implementing agro-ecological approaches. A local Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) is established to identify possible pathways of agro-ecological transitions and to co-construct strategies and incentives for the promotion of improved agro-ecological practices. The latter are adopted on specific parts of the farm if and where such practices fit best with the business plan of the farm. Result-oriented approaches will be developed on an experimental basis to foster farmland biodiversity and water protection using the toolkit to assess the environmental, economic and social performance of the innovative strategies at the farm level (The Multi actor platform part of the German case study of H2020 project UNISECO).


Objectives of this case studies :

A local Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) is set up to:

  • Improve understanding of barriers and drivers of agro-ecological transitions;
  • Co-construct novel and effective market mechanisms and policy instruments to improve the sustainability of intensive arable farming systems;
  • Design result-oriented agroecological practices allow improving biodiversity and water quality while minimizing negative impacts on the economic viability.


Problem description:

In the district of Neinburg, Lower Saxony a high pressure on ecological sustainability in general and biodiversity loss, as well as water pollution in particular, persist. Land use is dominated by highly market-oriented farming with a high share of rented land. The experiences with demanding agroecological practices are very limited. Cover crops are grown as a greening measure and some farmers have established flowering strips, extensive field margins.

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