Europe will face increasing pressure on agricultural systems due to increasing global food demands, competing claims on land resources and decreasing possibilities to displace production outside Europe. Moreover, increasing societal demands for a wide range of ecosystem services and biodiversity protection call for transitions towards intensive agricultural systems that have minimal detrimental environmental effects. As a response to these major societal challenges, sustainable intensification (SI) is gaining attention. SI cannot be implemented through a generic, single development pathway for all agricultural systems. Alternative trajectories and actions to achieve SI depend on the local and contextual agronomic, environmental and socio-economic conditions. The project VITAL explores transition processes of European agricultural systems towards sustainably intensified production. VITAL identifies how differences in agricultural systems, their spatial frameworks and the role of actors, lead to, or inhibit, alternate transition processes of SI. The feasibility of different SI pathways is upscaled across Europe, hence moving beyond the level of individual farms and regions. Suitable spatial configurations of SI across land use systems are identified, accounting for the landscape and regional context.

Continue reading: