Predicting and enhancing the Resilience of European Agro-ecosystems to environmental change using crop Rotations (PREAR)

Project summary:

Arable farming in Europe mostly comprises of crop rotations, in which a series of crops, planted each year, is repeated over time. Crop rotations have a range of economic and environmental impacts, including temporal spill-over effects from one year to another. The choice of crops used in a rotation is flexible, and managers can adapt this in the light of evidence and predictions of future economic and environmental conditions. The aim of PREAR is to devise validated, practical and stakeholder-acceptable rotational cropping systems that assure stable agro-ecosystem service provision and are resilient in the face of climate change. The PREAR project builds upon existing data-sets and expertise to assess current and novel rotations; their impact on weeds and the resulting disservices (loss of yield) and cascading ecological benefits (weeds supporting predators of pests, pollinators and biodiversity indicators) across food webs. We then use these scenarios of crop rotations to assess and predict ecosystem function and resilience in current and potential crop rotations, and to conduct an ecological-economic analysis to optimize provisioning and regulating ecosystem services and biodiversity, and stakeholders (farmers) will collaborate on the design of potential rotations. This project is innovative because it considers the series of crops in a rotation and trades-off the environmental and economic outcomes; previous projects considered only single crops. It has clear practical impacts because changing arable crop rotations is a feasible, potentially low risk way for farmers to change management and policy-makers can support this evidence-based best practice.




Dr. David Bohan
INRA, France

Project partners:

Natural Environment Research Council,
United Kingdom

Aarhus University,

Szent Istvan University,

SOLAGRO, Toulouse, France