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Landscape 2018: Food Security, Climate Change, Sustainability

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​Press release

Teilnehmende der ersten internationalen Fachkonferenz „Landscape 2018“ Berlin

From 12 to 16 March 2018, around 250 participants from 25 countries met for the first "Landscape 2018" in the Berlin Adlershof Science and Technology Park. The conference, organized by the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in cooperation with international partners, focused on the central challenges of globalized agriculture: Climate Change, Food Security, Sustainability. More than 75 key note and session presentations, 70 posters, 4 thematic workshops and 3 field trips focused on the networking of diverse scientific disciplines and actors under the thematic umbrella of Agricultural Landscape Research. 


The agricultural landscape is a highly topical issue, as the majority of the United Nations' sustainability goals that were adopted in 2015 – such as the reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gases, poverty reduction or food security – depend directly or indirectly upon the use of agricultural land.

Prof. Frank Ewert, Scientific Director of ZALF and one of the Chairs of the Conference, emphasized in his opening speech the importance of the agricultural landscape research for the implementation of these sustainability goals. "The central challenge of our disciplines is that of finding a balance between food security for a growing world population by increasing productivity on the one hand and the demand for sustainable agriculture adapted to climate change and other sustainability goals on the other", said Ewert. "Agricultural landscape research can and must build bridges here: between disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, between application orientation and basic research." This would make it possible to respond even better to major trends such as digitization, globalization and sustainability, and to meet the global challenges more effectively.

Prof. Mark Rounsevell from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, IMK-IFU), as one of the Conference Chairs, also pointed out the central role of agricultural landscape research in achieving the UN sustainability goals: "How can the balance between individual goals be achieved and how can conflicts be mediated", was one of the central questions of his introductory note. "If we reforest forests to combat climate change and grow crops to produce energy, will there be enough land remaining for food production or for the all-important conservation of biodiversity?", says Rounsevell.

The conference was divided into three parallel sessions: Session I - Landscape Processes, Session II - Land Use and Governance and Session III - Landscape Synthesis, and ended with a final plenary discussion on the role and future agricultural landscape research on the last day.

Yiqi Luo, Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology at the University of Oklahoma, opened the first day with a keynote speech on "Microbial Modeling and Beyond".

Sandrine Petit, Research Director at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA, UMR Agroecologie), introduced the participants to Session II with her keynote speech "Landscape, biodiversity and agroecological services".

"Landscape science: the role of models, data and theory" was the keynote address delivered on the last day of presentations by Marcel van Oijen of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)

The one-week conference ended on Friday with three excursions.

"The management of land use in terms of sustainability goals requires more interdisciplinary knowledge about the interactions between natural and social processes and factors related to landscape use. Sustainable measures and concepts for their implementation can only be developed in close interaction between the most recent research findings and intensive exchange with all relevant stakeholders", summarized Conference Host Prof. Katharina Helming from the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in the concluding discussion. ZALF wants to establish longer term formats of exchange on these issues. Landscape 2018" was in important step in this direction.


More information and the conference program is available


The event is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is supported by: 

  • AGMIP - The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project
  • ELI - European Land-Use Institute
  • BonaRes - Soil as a sustainable resource for the bioeconomy
  • iale – International Association for Landscape Ecology
  • MACSUR - Modeling European Agriculture with Climate Change for food Security
  • - Global Land Programme
  • ESP – Ecosystem Services Partnership
  • nature sustainability
  • - Meetings & Open Access Publications
  • land – an open access journal by MDPI



Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in Muencheberg, one of the institutes of the Leibniz Association:

ZALF's mission is to scientifically explain causal relationships in agricultural landscapes, and to provide society with a knowledge-base for the sustainable use of agricultural landscapes through excellent research.

Unlike natural landscapes, agricultural landscapes are shaped by their use and their users. The research at ZALF therefore comprises the social demands placed on agricultural landscapes and the effects of their use. ZALF has been increasingly concentrating its research on the Grand Societal Challenges relevant in the context of agricultural landscapes, such as climate change, food security or the protection of biodiversity. ​​   


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Teilnehmende der ersten internationalen Fachkonferenz „Landscape 2018“ Berlin| Quelle: © Tony Haupt .
Participants of the first international “Landscape 2018” conference in Berlin. The image is released for editorial reporting purposes provided the source of the image is given: © Tony Haupt​​
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