BESTMAP: Behavioural, Ecological and Socio-economic Tools for Modelling Agricultural Policy

duration: 09/2019 – 08/2023

Summary: BESTMAP is an international research project run by a consortium of 13 partners across 7 countries and funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

The European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports the livelihood of 11 million farmers while maintaining environmental standards and good agricultural practices over half of the European Union (EU) land. Yet, pressures including land-use intensification, abandonment and climate change remain a challenge to the current CAP and its implementation.

The main goal of BESTMAP is to improve and contribute to the existing tools used in agricultural policy impact assessment, and to develop a new model-based approach to predict the environmental impact of changes in the CAP, in order to promote a sustainable future for the EU agricultural sector. To do this, BESTMAP will quantitatively model, monitor and map policy change impacts on the environment, climate system, delivery of ecosystem services, as well as socio-economic metrics. Moreover, BESTMAP will link economic modelling with individual-farm Agent-Based Models (ABM), to take into account the complexity of farmers’ decision making. This approach will be demonstrated in 5 case study regions across Europe covering diverse agricultural, socio-economic and political backgrounds, and later up-scaled to European-wide application. Overall, BESTMAP aims at improving the effectiveness of future EU rural policies’ design, monitoring and implementation.

Find more about the project on the official BESTMAP website.

Funding: BESTMAP receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 817501.


ECO²SCAPE: Co-design of ecologically and economically efficient policy instruments and measures for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in cultural landscapes

duration (Phase 2): 10/2021 – 09/2024

Summary: ECO²SCAPE is a transdisciplinary research project to develop ecologically and economically efficient measures for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services by an interdisciplinary research team and in cooperation with local stakeholders.

The project focuses on the co-design of measures to be developed and piloted in the model region “Vereinigte Mulde” (Saxony) through effective cooperation and participation of farmers. The model region is characterized by intensive but also diverse land use, contains designated biologically unique protected areas and is representative for many cultural landscapes in Germany. All measures and research approaches will be developed under the condition of spatial transferability to other cultural landscapes. The significance of individual success factors for the implementation of the measures, including the importance of institutional framework conditions, economic instruments and social acceptance, will be investigated. In addition, the measures will be accompanied by a new, automated biodiversity monitoring system, and landscape ecological models will be developed to map the ecological effects of the measures at the landscape level.

Find more about ECO²SCAPE on our project page

Funding: The project is funded by the BMBF within the framework of the  “Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity”.


PAMbase: a Repository of Soundscape Recordings to study Earth’s Phonosphere

putative start: 04/2022

Summary: Recent breakthroughs in passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) now allow collecting acoustic environmental information at unprecedented spatio-temporal scales, quickly transforming it into a big and highly valuable data pool for Earth System Sciences. Building on existing open-source repositories, we aim to conceptualize such a repository for passive acoustic monitoring data (called PAMbase), which will allow curated data and metadata storage and quality control of acoustic data. We intend to address with this repository several user groups, including researchers, the public, planning authorities and decision-makers. 

Funding: funded as a Pilot study through the NFDI4Earth consortium