WP6 - Environmental and economic effects

The added value of the different strategies will be appraised in terms of eco-services and biodiversity improvement, considering soil microbiota and mesofauna, entomofauna and flora diversity. This is the goal of WP6.

Through a holistic approach, ultimately aiming at the overall agro-ecosystem economic and ecological sustainability, the adjustment and fine tuning of the proposed innovations will be evaluated at farm level, using indicator-based evaluation systems (Task 6.1: Eco-services appraisal and assessment of biodiversity improvement). The output of this WP will be a comprehensive assessment of validated innovative soil management strategies for the different pedo-climatic regions and production systems vis-à-vis farmers‘ perspective.

The activities of this WP will allow obtaining data useful for the optimization of management recommendations for agricultural sustainability in terms of conservation and implementation of fertility, biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as prevention of pests spreading, which will be used in developing the soil improvement strategy.

In parallel, the economic impact of the new orchard management methods will be assessed first at on-farm level, which is a basic condition for adoption into practice (Task 6.2: Economic assessment). The economic assessment of profitability of new management systems will be carried out by establishing typical farm models for the different climatic regions based on current management system. A scenario analysis for typical farm models – adoption of innovative systems - will be developed. The cost of production and profits with current and with new methods will be compared. The experiences from pilot implementation in farmer fields during the project period will be used to model the changes in the production systems as compared to typical current farmer practice, based on a complete set of price and quantity data of the farm. This allows considering explicitly the effects of changed soil management practices on all aspects of farm assets and operations.