- EIP-AGRI Projects
- Focus groups
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EIP-AGRI Operational Group MUNTER (Germany) developed a management template for farmers and communities to implement increased environmental protection along with nature conservation, crop production and livestock farming. The project also tested new formats for knowledge exchange among stakeholders and developed tools to support these participatory processes. “Measures for environmental protection do not need to be at the expense of regional economic cycles, they can actually bring about more added value and development potential for a region” – Jörg Böhmer from the project.
Intensively used agricultural soils often do not offer enough protection against erosion and heavy rainfall, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change. This poses a serious flood risk in many areas. Agroforestry systems or perennial crops such as energy crops have proven to be effective in mitigating this risk by improving erosion control and increasing the soil’s ability to store water.
Farmers and foresters are constantly finding new ways to reduce the impact their work may have on the environment.
The project’s activities and development of the management template are divided into 4 topics:
Erosion Protection: By simulating runoff rates on arable fields with agroforestry strips after heavy rainfall events, MUNTER showed how soil erosion and flood risk can be sustainably reduced. Even during droughts, agroforestry strips in the field can reduce soil erosion caused by wind and serve as additional protection against evaporation. Using cover crops all year round also protects the soil from erosion.
Protecting water bodies: Agroforestry systems absorb excess nutrients in the deeper soil layers without competing with the main crop. Reducing water erosion also protects watercourses from pollutants. The shading of watercourses helps to reduce water temperature, which is currently rising due to climate change.
Sustainable rural economic development: The provision of energy such as wood chips (from farm wood) or biogas (energy crops) increases regional added value. The agricultural land is maintained for agricultural and economic use and the local biomass can then be used for local energy purposes.
Biodiversity protection: In MUNTER, more than 80 different plant species as well as numerous spider and ground beetle species have been identified in the agroforestry systems. Just one year after being planted, relatively high woods provide protectionfor bats, amphibians, small mammals and wild animals. The cover crops also attract bees and other insects.
Two institutes, the RLP AgroScience GmbH and IfaS (Institute for Applied Material Flow Management) and three agricultural pilot farms were involved in this project. To ensure the template is practical for farmers, advisers and local authorities, they were involved in testing it:
In all these cases, integrated solutions were needed to accommodate the interests of farmers, local communities and government. Cooperation and exchanging expertise were essential to the process. The Operational Group met with various external specialists during organised field days. This allowed the group to be actively involved in land consolidation procedures and community meetings not only in the project area but also around Germany. Thanks also to the participation in roadshows on sustainable development, the project was able to involve government agencies. All activities served to both share and increase practical knowledge and discuss obstacles and possible solutions.
Project partners about the results of the project:
“For the first time, farmers, municipalities, water managers, nature conservationists and authorities worked out new multi-use concepts and implemented them together.” - Frank Wagener, “This means that the strategies are more effective as they take into account the needs of the whole community.”
“The collaborative strategy provides diversification opportunities for farmers. It enables nature protection and other ecosystem services while maintaining economic activity” – Axel Schönbeck.
“The flood protection concepts included income diversification opportunities through agroforestry and biomass production. These also reduce the need for fossil fuels by providing renewable bioenergy” – Otto & Jochen Bauer.
“The project is transferable wherever heavy rainfalls can have catastrophic impact on communities” – Kai Thomas.
Frank Wagener, email@example.com