Climate-smart and resilient farming
Evidence on climate change is solid and reveals that it will affect the EU with European farming first in line through changes to rainfall regimes, rising temperatures, the variability and seasonality of the climate and the occurrence of more frequent extreme events (heatwaves, droughts, storms and floods). In addition to finding effective solutions for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation such as reducing GHG emissions and sequestering carbon below and above ground, farmers will need to adapt to climate change and develop farming systems resilient to fluctuating environmental and socio-economic conditions.
Proposals should address only one of the following sub-topics (A) or (B).
A.  Microclimate management: from field to landscape (RIA)
Proposals shall improve the resilience of farming systems, including the livestock sector, to variable climatic conditions and more extreme weather events through risk management strategies and innovations in field and regional landscape design. Work will take into account the potential of traditional and innovative techniques and sensors and test their effectiveness in mitigating/buffering the effects of different weather events (such as drought, heat and cold waves, wind, heavy rain and flooding). Activities will maximise the time and space resolution of decision support systems to increase their effectiveness and reliability. Studies at landscape scale are required to understand leading ecological processes; therefore activities will include collaboration and coordination between farmers and between farmers and other stakeholders. Activities should look at the wider impacts of trade-offs and synergies between microclimate management and related policies (Water Framework Directive, Biodiversity Action Plans, Common Agricultural Policy, EU Adaptation Strategy) on agri-ecosystems and their surroundings. Proposals will use transdisciplinary research methods and should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'. Proposals should establish a farm and landscape-level observatory and knowledge-exchange network on regional risks and microclimate management. They should build links with the European Innovation Partnership "Agricultural productivity and sustainability" and showcase good practices to be replicated.
B.  Efficiency and resilience of mixed farming and agroforestry systems (RIA)
Activities will develop further mixed farming systems and show how the integration of crops, livestock and forestry activities can improve the resilience of agriculture in combination with the related climate change mitigation potential (e.g. carbon sequestration, nutrient recycling). Proposals should enable the participative design of mixed farming and agroforestry systems not only focusing on technical and agronomic aspects but also taking on board socio-economic aspects of mixed farming modes, the related value chains and necessary infrastructures as well as the environmental and climate mitigation and adaptation potential. Proposals will contribute to increase synergies between crops and livestock by defining optimal combinations of production to increase income stability at farm level and sustainability of the relevant value chains. They shall develop models and tools adapted to real farm management to grasp the inherent complexity of mixed farming and agroforestry systems. Proposed work shall benefit both the conventional and organic sectors. Activities will use transdisciplinary research methods and proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'.
All sub-topics- The proposals funded under this topic (sub-topics A and B) will contribute to the development of a conceptual framework on resilience and mitigation at different levels (farm, community, region, national and EU) and its policy implications. Proposals should include a task to cluster with other projects financed under the same topic. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Funded activities will improve the climate and socio-economic resilience of the agricultural sector. In the short to medium term work will:
- Deliver effective solutions for ensuring the highest level of implementation on the farm and landscape scale regarding climate-smart and resilient systems and provide decision support systems adapted to mixed farming and agroforestry systems in heterogeneous landscapes;
- Unlock and improve viability and replicability of efficient and resilient farming systems and propose different transition scenarios leading to the development of modern land use systems, value chains and infrastructures;
- Reduce the environmental impact of farming and contribute towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change;
- Provide ecosystem services through integrated and small-scale land management.
In the longer term funded activities will help to foster the synergies between agricultural production, climate change mitigation and adaptation. They will allow the farming sector to continue fulfilling its multiple functions under predicted, more challenging abiotic conditions.
- Socio-economic science and humanities