Diversification of crop production systems for the collective health of soils, plants, and people
Biodiversity in fields and landscapes can be promoted by expanding crop production systems, reducing the use of agrochemicals, and increasing landscape complexity. These measures also have the potential to have a positive impact on human health.
In order to identify causal relationships between agrobiodiversity and health, derive recommendations, and implement measures in practice, the DCropS4OneHealth project tests the following hypotheses along a causal chain:
(1) Diversification of crop production systems increases biodiversity in the agricultural landscape in terms of soil and plant microbiome, vegetation, and invertebrate fauna.
(2) The higher diversity of crops, soil and plant microbiome, vegetation, and invertebrate fauna has a positive influence on the health-relevant properties of the food produced in terms of the food microbiome and plant constituents.
(3) These improved properties promote human health.
The consortium brings together scientists from different disciplines with actors from the field. In the first phase, a diversification concept will be created with and for a large agricultural enterprise, the methodology defined, and a transfer concept developed. In the second phase, the measures for crop diversification will be implemented with the help of a large-scale experiment on the farm and the hypotheses formulated above will be tested. In exchange with the relevant stakeholders, recommendations for beneficial diversification measures and their benefits for biodiversity and human health will be derived and possibilities for their implementation in practice will be identified.