SusTaining AgriCultural ChAnge Through ecological engineering and Optimal use of natural resources

04-2015 to 09-2018

Total Grant

€ 1 259 483

More information

Josef Settele

Partners of the project

UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leibniz, GERMANY (Coordinator)

Butterfly Conservation Europe (International Organization), Wageningen, THE NETHERLANDS

Pensoft, Sofia, BULGARIA Agriculture University of Plovdiv, BULGARIA

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Animal Diversity and Resources, Sofia, BULGARIA

Saxon State Office of Environment, Agriculture and Geology, Dresden, GERMANY

Landratsamt Mittelsachsen, Freiberg, GERMANY

Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania, Mures, ROMANIA

Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Sapientia University, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Autonomous University of Barcelona, SPAIN

Swedish Univeristy of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, SWEDEN

Lund University, SWEDEN

Swiss Federal Research Institute, Birmensdorf, SWITZERLAND


The key determinants of the stability of multiple ES delivery and biodiversity in agro-ecosystems and agricultural landscapes, including resilience to climate variability and extremes, much remains to be developed for the scientific foundation of ESS-based approaches. Besides the assessment of the functioning of productive ecosystems in terms of basic provisioning services is facing limits.

Main objectives

In order to advance long-term sustainable development of land use systems, against risks arising from multiple aspects of global change, STACCATO plans to quantify the sensitivity of ecosystem functions (ESF) and the services (ESS) generated from them to environmental pressures in representative agriculturally dominated landscapes in Europe. The focus is on local as well as regional land use intensity (including the socio- economic background) and biodiversity, and the potential impacts of future climate and land use change.
Following the framework of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), STACCATO define supporting services as ESF and deal with selected characteristic elements of 2 of the 3 service strands defined by the MEA, namely a) Provisioning Services (PS): nutrient cycling & crop production; b) Regulating Services (RS): biocontrol & pollination; and c) Cultural Services (CS): identity with cultural landscapes.
Studies are planned in representative regions across Europe (i.e. Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), in landscape along a gradient reflecting changing geo-climatic and land use intensity, and socio- economic conditions.
STACCATO aims at achieving the following specific objectives:
• Investigate the interactions between crop production areas and the landscapes in which they are imbedded across a European wide field site network;
• Develop valuations of the investigated ESF/ESS strands through monetary as well as non-monetary methods;
•Develop Ecological Engineering and Eco-functional intensification in conventional, integrated or organic agriculture.

Main activities

To achieve its goals, STACCATO will implement the following activities:
• Quantification (incl. the assessment of uncertainty) of the current and future dependencies of ESS of the cropping systems on a) local & regional land use intensity and its driving forces, b) biodiversity and c) climate;
• Study of three ESS strands: a) nutrient status & crop production, b) crop related biocontrol & pollination, and c) cultural services and how they are affected by land use intensity
Regarding stakeholder engagement and dissemination of the project outputs, STACCATO will pay particular attention to the involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders throughout the whole duration of the project by:
• Co-Designing STACCATO project and Ecological Engineering in close interaction with stakeholders;
• Developing guidelines for decision makers (incl. farmers) to further enhance ESS provision, in particular through ecological engineering as a tool for eco- functional intensification;
• Developing socio-economic analytical frameworks & tools for promotion of advanced land management practices, based on analyses of driving forces &