FunProd - Relationships between functional diversity and food production and quality under ecological intensification

working group meeting at iDiv: 11.-15.5.2020

PI: Klaus Birkhofer (Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg)


Agricultural intensification contributes to global food security and health by supplying the food demand of a
growing human population, but also causes environmental problems. Ecological intensification has been
proposed as viable alternative to achieve a balance between negative environmental issues, such as the ongoing
loss of biodiversity, and sufficiently high and qualitative food production. Ecological intensification focuses on
promoting biodiversity and key natural regulatory processes, such as pest control or pollination, that support crop
health and human society (“ecosystem services”) while reducing negative environmental impacts. Organic
agriculture and managed permanent grasslands are two popular elements of future ecological intensification
strategies with high potential for these benefits. The functional diversity of biotic communities, as the functional
traits of species in local communities, is an understudied dimension of biodiversity which may be particularly
relevant for links between ecological intensification, diversity, ecosystem services and human food and livestock
fodder production. The joint synthesis of existing databases on these aspects in organic agriculture and
permanent grasslands in Europe will provide a significant contribution to the evidence base for such links across
different climatic regions and a range of landscapes.

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