Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-11-13 - 2023-11-12

The Carbon Offset Project Exclosure - North Gondar (COPE) in Ethiopia was the first project selected by the BOKU carbon compensation system (BOKU-CO2) founded in 2012. COPE and COPE 2.0 is implemented by the Centre for Development Research (CDR) at BOKU in cooperation with the Gondar Agricultural Research Centre (GARC) in Ethiopia. COPE started in 2013 with a multi-staged participatory process over 18 months in two villages in Northern Ethiopia. When designing the participatory process, local customs and traditions were used as a baseline for the design. Therefore, the process was then based on a series of village meetings, and the establishment of committees and sub-groups working on specific issues in-between the larger meetings. Plantations were since done annually depending on the demand jointly identified by the local forest committee (FC) and Gondar Agriculture Research Centre researchers. The villagers have increased the originally planned area of 30 ha to 79,5 ha in 2017. The permanence of the afforestation, the first 10.000 seedlings were planted in June 2015, can now be secured by a broad acceptance of the project by the land users. During the 4 years monitoring period (2013/2016) 1320 tons of CO2 had been sequestered. The core objective of COPE 2.0 is to establish long term, innovative and participatory climate mitigation project which is planned, funded, implemented and supported in Ethiopia where BOKU scientists had been involved in the area through joint research projects already prior to project intervention. The goal of COPE 2.0 mitigation projects is not only climate protection, but also the structural and sustainable change in the area through the cooperation of science and local population to develop comprehensive climate programs and which have varied positive benefits such as biodiversity, water and soil protection, gender equality, participation, education and training as well as entrepreneurship opportunities for the local economy.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-10-01 - 2022-09-30

The project PA³C³ describes the potential of AgroVoltaics in Austria in the context of climate change. It focuses on the combined use of agricultural land for production of food/feed and solar electricity as countermeasure to future impacts of climate change, as well as maximization of land utilization. The coming decades will pose the challenge to meet both increasing demand of agricultural products and electricity, being complicated by changing conditions due to climate change. Expected increase of average temperature, drying trends paired with extreme precipitation events and other climatic changes force agricultural management to adapt. AgroVoltaics is a promising pathway for adaptation. The electrical output can possibly substitute the decreased output of agricultural products. Furthermore, the photovoltaic panels can have a positive effect on the plants below, e.g. reducing peak solar radiation and irrigation demand, being a countermeasure to the negative effects of climate change. The expansion of renewable energy production also has effects on environmental impacts. Beside the agrotechnical and economical challenges of changing management, a broad participation of stakeholders is crucial due to the decentralized structure of AgroVoltaics. To investigate these complex relationships, PA³C³ combines the important aspects for a successful implementation of AgroVoltaics in Austria. Serving this purpose, three scenarios are established: (1) unmodified agricultural management simulated with EPIC, (2) complete substitution of agriculture by photovoltaics simulated with PV-GIS, (3) combined land use, i.e. AgroVoltaics, investigated with life-cycle-assessment. The scenarios will be compared for the base year 2020 and 2050 under regards of projected climate impacts. Since the reliability of agricultural management is strongly dependent on local conditions, the results are resolved on a 500-meter grid over Austria, based on GIS-data such as topographic attributes, soil conditions, actual land management, weather data, etc. The acceptance of these scenarios by stakeholders will be investigated with a “serious gaming”-approach. Combining the results of all researched aspects, the potential for AgroVoltaics can be classified with a high geographical resolution.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-10-01 - 2024-09-30

Agricultural systems in Europe face challenges in terms of economic, ecological and societal performance. Faced with climate change, there is a need to strengthen the resilience of European agricultural production systems and at the same time ensure efficiency of production in terms of the use of resources such as water, nutrients, land and ecosystem services – thus creating balance and synergy between efficiency and resilience. It is expected that more mixed farming and agroforestry systems (MiFAS) could be part of the solution and should be explored. Adopting a holistic perspective, we define efficiency as the ability to simultaneously increase production, decrease input use, and decrease environmental and social impacts. We thereby also consider the impact of shocks and stresses in order to assess robustness of systems including capacities to adapt and transform. We define resilience of farming systems as their ability to ensure the provision of system functions in the face of increasingly complex and accumulating economic, social, environmental and institutional shocks and stresses, through capacities of robustness, adaptability and transformability. MIXED recognises that efficiency and resilience must be developed with farmers and in the contexts in which farms, farmers’ organizations, service suppliers and value chain actors operate. The overall project objective is to: drive the development of European Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems (MiFAS) that optimize efficiency and resource use, reduce GHG emissions, and show greater resilience to climate change by considering agronomic, technical, environmental, economic, institutional, infrastructure and social advantages and constraints. Through a multi-actor and transdisciplinary approach, the project will deliver the expected impacts by achieving the specific objectives organized under four main headings: 1) Co-creation of knowledge and innovations for enhanced Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems (MiFAS); 2) Development and assessment of MiFAS; 3) Decision-support for MiFAS; 4) Dissemination and communication.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations