Agriculture is faced with the major challenge of meeting the increasing demand for food and feed whilst minimising environmental impacts; however, dwindling resources, climate change, soil erosion and rising energy prices hamper sustainable crop production. Furthermore, the reduction in biodiversity caused by agriculture as well as the use of pesticides are frowned upon by the public. For this reason, more and more people are clamouring for sustainability and the environment to be given greater consideration than in the past. Our research group investigates and optimises sustainable cropping systems, focusing on plant-soil interactions. We search for practical solutions for producing in an environmentally friendly and resource-efficient manner by implementing ecological approaches in practice.
The emphasis here is on conservation (i.e. reduced) tillage, diversification, ecological intensification and agroecology. In addition, we investigate the impacts of agricultural measures on beneficial soil microorganisms and biodiversity.