Thunen Institute of Rural Studies

Braunschweig, Germany

Thunen Institute of Rural Studies

Braunschweig, Germany
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Feike T.,Julius Kuhn Institute | Feike T.,University of Hohenheim | Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,University of Le Havre
Ecological Economics | Year: 2017

China's crop production sector faces severe water scarcity issues. Previous research has shown that effective water conservation policies exert strongly negative impacts on agricultural production and farmers' income, which make them politically unfeasible under Chinese conditions. To highlight ways out of this dilemma, the present study tests three alternative water policies complemented by supportive agricultural policies to reduce the trade-offs between water conservation and rural development policy goals. Using the case of the extremely arid Aksu-Tarim Region in northwest China, a regional supply model is developed which serves as the analysis framework. Applied as stand-alone water policies, irrigated area tax, water quota and water pricing differ clearly in effectiveness and efficiency. Combined with agricultural policies (subsidies) into multiple policy instruments, the price-based and quota-based instruments mitigate the negative impacts on rural development goals. Targeting a water conservation rate of 20%, the tested multiple policies perform alike on the level of the entire study region; cotton production decreases by 15%, cereals production remains stable, and regional income decreases by 13%. However, at the sub-regional level, the impacts on water conservation, production and income differ significantly between the alternative policy instruments and sub-regions, constituting a crucial challenge for practical water policy implementation. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Kupper P.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Kundolf S.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Mettenberger T.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Tuitjer G.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies
European Planning Studies | Year: 2017

Innovation comprises both novelty and practicability. These two dimensions of innovation correlate partly negatively in our analysis of survey data about planning processes in declining rural districts. As argued in the literature, declining regions need innovative concepts beyond traditional counteracting strategies to ‘shrink smart’. Competitions are suggested as feasible-to-initiate innovative local concepts by the state. The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture invited 39 particularly affected rural districts to participate in such a competition among the best concepts. We address the questions of how the districts dealt with the requirements for novelty and practicability in their concepts and how the rules of competitive bidding procedures influence those concepts. Answering these questions, we conducted a survey and statistically tested hypotheses deduced from governance and innovation theory. Moreover, we analysed the bidding documents. The results show that most districts came up with hardly novel and only partly practicable concepts because the organization of the competition, and local bargaining processes impede innovation. Furthermore, the ministry’s requirements for the competition overburdened local actors with a lack of resources in declining regions. As a policy implication, we propose to integrate external experts in local networks and to accompany declining regions over a longer time instead of short-term competitions and projects. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,European Commission | Piot-Lepetit I.,European Commission | Piot-Lepetit I.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 7 more authors.
Food Policy | Year: 2013

Due to their high protein content, soybeans are important feedstuffs in the European Union (EU). However, the cultivation of soybeans using genetically modified (GM) varieties in non-EU countries is increasing and the EU authorization of GM products takes longer than in other countries, leading to an asynchronous approval between the EU and non-EU countries that might induce soybean trade disruptions. This paper uses an integrated modelling system to simulate Argentina, Brazil and the United States ending soybean exports to the EU. The impact on world trade and on the EU import prices of soy products is analysed with a computable general equilibrium model. EU soy imports are shown to decline, and the import price of soybeans in the EU increases. The effects on EU agricultural markets are analysed based on a partial equilibrium model. Feed costs in the EU are found to increase with poultry and pork the most affected: production and exports decline and imports increase. However, the effects of a trade ban are found to be less profound than in many other studies due to compensating substitution effects at various market levels: increasing imports from third countries, increasing domestic oilseed production and the use of other protein feeds. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Kreins P.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,University of Le Havre | Anter J.,Thunen Institute of Agricultural Technology | And 2 more authors.
Water Resources Management | Year: 2015

Climate change is expected to impact agricultural production conditions and groundwater resources. The climate change impacts are expected to be of particular importance for the German region North Rhine-Westphalia. Due to a high population density and intensive partial irrigation of agricultural production, future resource conflicts for groundwater are expected. An integrated model framework consisting of climate, crop-soils and ground-water models represents the regional heterogeneous climatic, geographic and agronomic conditions. The integrated model framework simulates the irrigation demand and groundwater recharge. An ex-post comparison between the simulated reference period (1961 to 1990) and statistical data prove a good model validity. The climate change scenario for the future period 2051 to 2080 assumes decreasing precipitation and increasing transpiration. The simulated total irrigation demand increases by nearly 20 times compared to the reference period (1961 to 1990) and increases regionally to more than 40 mm/ha. Decreasing groundwater recharge results in a tenfold increased share of irrigation water from groundwater. This share accounts regionally for more than 30%. The results indicate important impacts for both agricultural production and other groundwater users. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015.

Vaclavik T.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Vaclavik T.,Palacky University | Langerwisch F.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Langerwisch F.,Berlin Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research BBIB | And 12 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2016

Much of our knowledge about land use and ecosystem services in interrelated social-ecological systems is derived from place-based research. While local and regional case studies provide valuable insights, it is often unclear how relevant this research is beyond the study areas. Drawing generalized conclusions about practical solutions to land management from local observations and formulating hypotheses applicable to other places in the world requires that we identify patterns of land systems that are similar to those represented by the case study. Here, we utilize the previously developed concept of land system archetypes to investigate potential transferability of research from twelve regional projects implemented in a large joint research framework that focus on issues of sustainable land management across four continents. For each project, we characterize its project archetype, i.e. the unique land system based on a synthesis of more than 30 datasets of land-use intensity, environmental conditions and socioeconomic indicators. We estimate the transferability potential of project research by calculating the statistical similarity of locations across the world to the project archetype, assuming higher transferability potentials in locations with similar land system characteristics. Results show that areas with high transferability potentials are typically clustered around project sites but for some case studies can be found in regions that are geographically distant, especially when values of considered variables are close to the global mean or where the project archetype is driven by large-scale environmental or socioeconomic conditions. Using specific examples from the local case studies, we highlight the merit of our approach and discuss the differences between local realities and information captured in global datasets. The proposed method provides a blueprint for large research programs to assess potential transferability of place-based studies to other geographical areas and to indicate possible gaps in research efforts. © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Dechow R.,Thunen Institute of Agricultural Climate Research
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2014

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural land use account for 56% of German agricultural green house gas (GHG) emissions. It is assumed that this share will increase up to 60% by 2020. The realistic estimation of N2O emissions for GHG inventory and policy scenarios requires a model approach which considers the regional drivers for both the N2O originating processes and agricultural production.The nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural mineral soils have been simulated for Germany at regional scale for the base year 2007, the baseline year 2020 and a scenario assuming a nitrogen tax as a mitigation instrument. For the simulation the agro-economic model RAUMIS was applied with the standard IPCC emission factor approach together with the emission model MODE, which provides emission factors considering the regional impacts of climate, soil and crop system.The emission levels computed with the RAUMIS-MODE approach are in general smaller, and indicate a different regional distribution of the highly emitting regions (e.g., in southern Germany). For all of Germany the simulations result in an increase of 16% in the year 2020 computed with the IPCC approach and of 9% computed with the RAUMIS-MODE approach.The simulation of a nitrogen tax of 150% on the price of purchased mineral nitrogen fertilizer results in an emission decrease of 12-13% compared to the baseline. While the impact of the nitrogen tax on agriculture production is highest in regions with low livestock density or low productivity, the mitigation effect in less productive regions is low, and vice versa. The results indicate that a nitrogen tax on mineral fertilizer does not seem to be a suitable instrument to address regional N2O mitigation targets. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Baum S.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Weih M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Bolte A.,Thunen Institute of Forest Ecosystems
Landbauforschung Volkenrode | Year: 2013

In the near future an increase in Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) plantations is to be expected. The objective was to compare the recent vegetation and the soil seed bank in SRC plantations to reveal the functioning of the soil seed bank for phytodiversity and vegetation structure after reconversion of SRC plantations into arable land. For the analyses, above-ground vegetation surveys and soil seed bank samples of six German and four Swedish SRC plantations were used. Similarity in composition of soil seed banks and recent vegetation was low in terms of species, plant strategy types, species habitat preferences and seed longevity. On average, the proportion of common species of recent vegetation and soil seed bank was 8.4 % (± 6.7 % SD).The recent vegetation was dominated by competitive (c) plant species while in the soil seed banks highest proportions were detected for ruderals (r) and competitors (c). Species with long-term persistent seeds had the highest contribution to both the recent vegetation and the soil seed banks. Grassland species had highest species habitat preference proportion in the recent vegetation. The soil seed banks contained predominantly ruderal species and woodland species were almost absent. Due to the poor coherence of seed bank vs. recent vegetation, we conclude that the site history has only a minor influence on phytodiversity in SRC plantations, suggesting that recent vegetation composition is mainly due to the species pool of the adjacent vegetation and site conditions like below-canopy irradiance and site nutrition.

Efken J.,Thunen Institute of Market Analysis | Dirksmeyer W.,Thunen Institute of Farm Economics | Kreins P.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Knecht M.,Justus Liebig University
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2016

This paper aims at measuring the importance of the bioeconomy within the economy as a whole in Germany. It is based upon the definition of the bioeconomy by the German Bioeconomy Council according to which the bioeconomy "encompasses all those sectors and their related services which produce, process or use biological resources in whatever form." Various official statistics were exploited for the determination of the different industries and their share of the bioeconomy. Our analysis covers the developments from 2002 to 2010. The indicators used were employment and gross value added. Altogether, about five million employees, representing 10% of all employees and 140 billion Euros, representing 6% of gross national product have been identified as the share of bioeconomy in Germany in 2010. This indicates a strong increase compared to the year 2002. Challenges that still need to be overcome are that neither the available data nor the economic activities themselves can be unambiguously assigned to the bioeconomy or the non-bioeconomy. © 2016 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.

Roder N.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,University of Le Havre | Liebersbach H.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Economics | Year: 2015

Agricultural production contributes 11% to the total German greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We compare the efficiency of three different land use based GHG abatement measures in combination and as separately applied measures: the production of short rotation coppices, of feedstocks for biomethane production, and peatland restoration. We evaluate these options with respect to the following criteria: cost efficiency (GHG abatement costs), abatement potential, and impact on agricultural production. We use the regional supply model RAUMIS to investigate the different abatement measures at the sector and regional level. Up to a reduction of GHG emission of 25* 1012g CO2eq peatland restoration is the most cost efficient option. Short rotation coppice allow some cost-efficient mitigation also only at limited scale. Energy maize is only an option if high abatement targets should be met. The joint implementation of several abatement strategies allows meeting specified targets at lower costs. The crowding out effect between the options is limited. The spatial analysis indicates measure specific regional competitiveness and application e.g. short rotation coppice in Eastern and Southern Germany, peat restoration in Northern Germany and energy maize production in central Germany. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Henseler M.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Henseler M.,University of Le Havre | Roder N.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | Liebersbach H.,Thunen Institute of Rural Studies | And 2 more authors.
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2015

In Northern and Central Europe, short-rotation coppices (SRC) have become a profitable agricultural production alternative, particularly for marginal fields with suitable groundwater levels. Furthermore, the replacement of fossil fuels by the wood chips produced in SRC contributes to the mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Due to heterogeneous regional production conditions, the impacts on the economy, production and GHG mitigation are expected to vary widely by region. Several studies investigate the specific agronomic, environmental and economic aspects of SRC. However, only a few studies present a concise analysis of more than one or all of these aspects or evaluate SRC as a mitigation strategy. This study complements the existing literature by estimating the mitigation potential from SRC in Germany. It presents an integrated modeling approach that considers agronomic and economic aspects and investigates the mitigation potential and the abatement cost efficiency arising from abatement-based payments. The simulation of different payment scenarios indicates that SRC could mitigate up to 15% of the German agricultural sector's GHG emissions. The integrated model approach links a site model and the agro-economic model RAUMIS and can be regarded as a fruitful development for addressing SRC-related research questions as well as a promising base for further work. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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