Project: Synergies in integrated systems: Improving resource use efficiency while mitigating GHG emissions through well-informed decisions about circularity

Acronym SENSE
Project Topic Specialization, intensification and spatial separation of crop, livestock and forestry production systems have contributed to climate change and biodiversity loss. Integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems offer multiple opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural production systems. Circular systems have been proposed to increase resource use efficiency, particularly of scarce nutrients, in a more sustainable way than conventional systems. Therefore, bringing in circularity contributes to minimizing the environmental footprint of agriculture. A clear picture of potential synergies and trade-offs is required before prioritizing solutions. We will develop a matrix of (existing) indicators for effective quantification of the status of circularity within various integrated system case studies in four European countries (Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and UK) and three South American countries (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay). Contrasting scenarios of carbon, nutrients, water, and biomass flows will be simulated in the case studies through the application of process-based models such as manure-DNDC. This analysis will return the predictions trajectories at farm level to redesign systems towards more complete local circularity within crop-livestock-forestry integrated systems. We will compare the circularity scenarios according to their potential for mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Further, the resilience of farm systems under climate change will be compared for the scenarios using a probabilistic risk analysis approach. At farm level, we will evaluate their side effects on other societal goals based on multidimensional sustainability assessment tools. SENSE will demonstrate a novel solution for improved land management systems, building knowledge through the linkage between sensors and High-Performance Computing (HPC)-based data analysis, supported by modelling and visualization to meet farmer’s information needs to attain net zero GHG emissions. We will test a novel digital Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MVR) system developed by James Hutton Institute and its application in quantifying and mitigating GHG emissions. We will compare and discuss our cases including with the participating farmers at different levels of detail, through both circularity and ecological functioning indicators to discover general lessons for enhancing circularity at the farm level. Our proposed project will contribute to the European Farm to Fork Strategy and to crosscutting actions of the European Circular Economy Action Plan. Circularity is considered a prerequisite for climate neutrality but bears potentially negative outcomes for other grand societal challenges. We will provide guidance for informed circularity decisions at farm level that consider the trade-offs with other sustainability goals. Translated into policy briefs, this information will help to design an enabling environment that effectively supports farmers to enhance circularity in their farming systems. The use of information from individual farms and the participation of farmers at several levels and different points during the implementation of the activities is key for the outcome of the project.
Network SusAn
Call 2021 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 The James Hutton Institute Coordinator United Kingdom
2 Stichting Wageningen Research Partner Netherlands
3 University of Hohenheim Partner Germany
4 Demeter e.V. Partner Germany
5 Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria Partner Italy
6 Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Partner Brazil
7 National Institute of Agropecuarian Technology Partner Argentina
8 Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria Partner Uruguay