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Land 2015, 4(3), 737-753; doi:10.3390/land4030737

Ecological Recycling Agriculture to Enhance Agro-Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea Region: Guidelines for Implementation

1
Institute of Land Use Systems, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) e.V., 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
2
Biodynamic Research Institute, 15391 Järna, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stefan Hotes and Benjamin Burkhard
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [761 KB, uploaded 20 August 2015]   |  

Abstract

Eutrophication caused by agriculture is an increasing ecological threat to the Baltic Sea. Modern, resource-efficient farming systems based on integrated plant and animal production, effective nutrient recycling and low external inputs can enhance multiple agro-ecosystem services, resulting in reduced pollution. Practical examples of such farming systems are not widespread. Therefore, the Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture and Society (BERAS) Implementation project aimed to foster this systemic shift. In this paper, agronomic strategies are described to improve nitrogen (N) efficiency for the conversion to ecological recycling agriculture (ERA). First, N farm gate balances of 22 farms in conversion are presented. They showed a large variation from −9 to 90 kg∙N∙ha−1∙a−1. Then, the use of guidelines and advisory tools to improve the nitrogen efficiency is described. The legume estimation trainer and nitrogen budget calculator help assess and optimize the nitrogen supply from legumes under farming conditions. The application of the crop rotation planning tool “ROTOR” guides advisors and farmers to identify agronomically and environmentally sound rotations. The tools can help overcome key agronomic constraints by implementing ERA. The necessity of accompanying measures from policy and the need to change food consumption patterns are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use change and impact; eutrophication; nutrient efficiency; crop rotation; assessment; legumes; resource-efficient cropping systems land use change and impact; eutrophication; nutrient efficiency; crop rotation; assessment; legumes; resource-efficient cropping systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Stein-Bachinger, K.; Reckling, M.; Bachinger, J.; Hufnagel, J.; Koker, W.; Granstedt, A. Ecological Recycling Agriculture to Enhance Agro-Ecosystem Services in the Baltic Sea Region: Guidelines for Implementation. Land 2015, 4, 737-753.

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