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Workshop 3.3

Designing Cropping Systems for Adaptation to Climate Change


Thomas Döring, Humboldt University Berlin
Frank Ellmer, Humboldt University Berlin
Ralf Bloch, Hochschule für Nachh. Entw. Eberswalde
Johann Bachinger, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research

If you have any questions regarding this workshop, please turn directly to the convenors by sending an email.


This workshop employs an interdisciplinary approach to ask (1) how cropping systems can be designed that are able to adapt to climate changes; (2) how their resilience to extreme weather events can be strengthened; (3) what role collaborative on-farm research can play for improving the adaptive capacity of cropping systems; and (4) how solutions already available can be integrated into current systems.


Climate changes, occurring on planetary down to local scales, pose significant threats to humankind. One area of particular concern is agriculture. Farming systems not only face severe dangers from changing climate and extreme weather events, but they are also contributors to climate change as a substantial source of greenhouse gases. Therefore, agricultural systems will need to be developed that can contribute to climate change mitigation and simultaneously have a strong ability to adapt to new and changing conditions. For these tremendous tasks it is necessary that several relevant disciplines come together and integrate their various approaches. This workshop therefore employs an interdisciplinary perspective to ask how cropping systems can be designed that are better able to adapt to climate changes. This comprises several questions: (1) How can we identify the vulnerability of regions with their farming systems? (2) How can the resilience of cropping systems to extreme weather events be strengthened? (3) What are the roles of different forms of research, such as on-station research, action research, collaborative on-farm research, and farmer-led research, in the design of well-adapted cropping systems? (4) What solutions do the different disciplines already offer to build cropping systems that are fit for climate change and how can these solutions be integrated into a viable system? (5) What does increased climate variability (e.g. in the form of increasing weather fluctuations) mean for experimentation on cropping systems? To answer these questions, we will bring together experts from a broad range of disciplines, including agricultural meteorology, soil and crop science, plant pathology, plant breeding, and economics. The workshop will consist of two parts. The first part will take the form of a series of oral presentations from various disciplines, in order to make all participants familiar with the state of the art. Each talk will be followed by an extended and moderated discussion to foster interdisciplinary interaction. The second part will bring all perspectives together in a general discussion. The guiding question in this discussion will be agreed at the start among all workshop participants. A potential question for the general discussion could be how a network of collaborative on-farm research can be built to support adaptation of cropping systems to climate change.

Workshop process

The workshop will consist of (a) a series of oral presentations from the various relevant disciplines, including moderated discussion time; and (b) a general discussion at the end, on a topic specified by participants, e.g. on how to build a network of collaborative on-farm research for adapting cropping systems to climate change.

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