Main authors: Ana Iglesias, Luis Garrote, David Santillán
iSQAPERiS Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Iglesias A., Garrote L., Santillán D. (2020) Report on scenarios of future farm and soil management systems. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 7.3 19 pp


Contents table
1. Definition of scenarios  
2. Likelihood of changes in the AMPs in the future 
3. Gaps in knowledge

1. Definition of scenarios

Based on the conclusions of the workshop and an ongoing consultation with the experts in the case studies and the IEEP policy teams, the flowing scenarios are defined (Figure 9):

  • Expected: The Expected scenario maintains the observed tendency in the implementation of beneficial agricultural management practices.
  • Regional Targets: This scenario assumes the same rate of implementation of agricultural management practices, but considers that policy efforts are focused on areas where soil threats are more active and soil quality indicators are poorer. The emphasis, therefore, is place on targeting the regions that where the practices would be more beneficial.
  • Towards 2050: This scenario assumes an intensification on the rate of implementation of agricultural management practices as a result of public policies.

Policy portfolios for each scenario include the selective implementation of certain combinations of management practices. The results for individual farming systems are grouped together to account for subgrid variability. The results for different agricultural management practices are combined to produce the effect of each policy scenario. Results of different soil quality indicators are then combined to produce descriptions of improvement of soil environmental footprint. Soil Environmental footprint scenarios are then analysed in terms of improvements with respect to the current situation.

D73 fig09
Figure 9

  • Scenario 1 – Expected. Based on current societal trends and policies
  • Scenario 2 – Regional targets. Targeting policy intervention to the most degraded soils
  • Scenario 3 – Towards 2050. Towards the goal of carbon neutral agriculture by 2050. High level implementation


2. Likelihood of changes in the AMPs in the future

The likelihood of changes in the AMPs in the future are defined in the main agro-climatic regions in Europe and China, (Figures 9 and 10).

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Figure 10
D73 fig11
Figure 11

In each region, each case study evaluated the likelihood of implementing the four agricultural management practices:

  1. addition of organic matter:
  2. reduced tillage;
  3. crop rotation including leguminous; and
  4. organic production.

Table 2. Likelihood of changes in the selected agricultural management practices in the case studies

Case study Likelihood of changes in the selected agricultural management practices 
Addition of organic matter Reduced Tillage Crop rotation including leguminous Organic production
1. De Peel, NL All sandy soils, different farms ++ same ++ +
1. De Peel, NL Arable, vegetable, dairy All the same Some arable farmers some reduced tillage All the same, they find a clear benefit, less subsidy driven Dairy will do less organic than the rest
2. GAEC de la Branchette, FR   + + + ++
3. Cértima, PT Vineyard, fruit  + low ++ same +
3. Cértima, PT Cereals, maize and rice  ++ from animals or swer (key issue, very strict rules) same ++ +
3. Cértima, PT Vegetables + same ++ ++
4. SE Spain, ES Optimal: what needs to be done ++ Soils very poor, require OM additions + Keep a minimum tillage, not avoid altogether, to keep structure + ++
4. SE Spain, ES What the farmers will do + becoming expensive same + Cooperatives are promoting this +++ (more than 10%) Market driven, image of the farm
5. Crete, GR Subsidised same ++ same +++
5. Crete, GR Non subsidised +++ Because there are many animals and manure available same same +
6. Ljubljana, SI Transition country, for everywhere in the country +++ Depends on the soil +, some soils in the area need tillage ++ 3-4 crop rotation with legumes ++ With the new subsidy payment
7. Zala, HU Arable +++ + + +
7. Zala, HU Alfalfa +++ same same same
8. Braila, RO All study area, SE Romania Not likely to increase a lot ++ because low structure in the soil +++ subsidies neutral
8. Braila, RO The rest of Romania, rest of CS region Not likely to increase a lot Depends on soil type because of the clay content, the most clay, the less low tillage +++ subsidies same
9. Trzebieszów, PL What the soil needs +++   ++ provides better improvement  
9. Trzebieszó, PL What the farmers will do  +++ OM available and need to improve it Same, farmers do not like it very much + supported by the government  ++ Farmers consider it important, market opportunity 
10. Tartumaa, EE  Cereal   ++ in the form of cover crops +++ Already forced by the subsidies Not enough subsidies, may b a short term problem, already 20% ++ 
10. Tartumaa, EE Mixed farms ++ from manure  ++  Already forced by the subsidies  Same as for cereal farming +
11. Qiyang, CN (subtropical) Upland soils +++ + + same
11. Qiyang, CN (subtropical) Low land soils ++ same ++ same
12. Suining, CN Paddy rice ++ +++ + same
13. Zhifanggou, CN   + + + +
14. Gongzhuling, CN Maize, upland + +++ ++ +


  • 1. De Peel: is not representative for the entire Atlantic region. In other parts of the region, the soils have larger clay content and therefore they will implement more reduced tillage.
  • 4. Alicante: organic matter needs to be applied continuously for more than 15 years in order to have an effect. Organic matter is becoming really expensive
  • 5. Crete: the changes are relevant to only olives and grapevine, some very small percentage of vegetables. Organic farming also very likely to increase in other crops.
  • 9. Trzebieszów: organic production is linked to breweries. An important agricultural management practice not considered is liming to deal with sandy acidic soils. Organic farming, organic matter will be adopted in entire region.
  • 10. Tartumaa: this case study is not entirely representative of the agro-climatic region because of the farm economic strucuture, but some aspects are similar to other Nordic countries.

 3. Gaps in knowledge

The analysis has made use of available knowledge and data to define the future management scenarios to define the environment footprint. However, available knowledge and data is far from complete, and the multi actor process necessarily involves filling these gaps with ad-hoc decisions.

The multi-actor approach included different scientific disciplines, the social sciences, practitioners, environmentalists and policy developers, providing information to the project and interested in using the information for different purposes. They provided input with different questions in mind. The need to synthetise the information provided is a great challenge.

The information used to define scenarios and the likelihood of implementing the agricultural management practices, can only describe a pattern and changes at the regional level; only if the local data are available the scenarios can be further defined.

General questions that need to be considered in multi-actor evaluations include the following:

  • What are the best criteria for selecting the actors?
  • How do the key individual criteria and information can be used for scenario building?
  • Are we uncovering new relevant information or covering up the lack of representativeness of the wide range of actors?
  • How do we move beyond the information provided by the multi-actors to the conceptual scenarios to be applied in a model?

All of these questions can only be addressed through an ongoing process of stakeholder consultation evolving over time.


Note: For full references to papers quoted in this article see

» References


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