Using a pathways approach to provide policy support for sustainable and profitable agriculture

H. van Delden, L. Fleskens, M. Muro, T. Tugran, I. Vanermen, J.E.M. Baartman, J. Mills, J.P. Nunes, G. Salputra, L.M. O'Sullivan, J. Ingram, C. Chivers, S.J.E. Verzandvoort, R. Hessel, R. Vanhout

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


European agriculture is confronted with many uncertainties regarding its future development. Some of these are linked to changing climatic and environmental conditions, while others are the result of our behaviour. Within the SoilCare project we aimed to explore different pathways for European agriculture, from now until 2050, as this will help to support the development of policies that are future proof. Main questions this research aimed to answer were: 1) How can policies support soil-improving farming practices under different future pathways? 2) Are some policy actions more robust under a range of future pathways? To answer these questions we developed a storyline, simulation and policy support approach that includes a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques in a multi-actor setting. First, together with European level stakeholders, we developed scenarios that capture diverse pathways for European agriculture. Next, we used the SoilCare Integrated Assessment model to quantify these scenarios and assess how sustainability options can contribute to sustainable and profitable future within these pathways. Finally, we discussed what is needed to enable adoption and implementation of relevant options. Quantitative assessment results indicated that different options score differently across Europe on selected indicators (soil erosion, soil organic matter, yield and production) because the combination of drivers plays out differently in different parts of Europe - indicating the complexity of the issue and the importance of understanding local dynamics. The participatory identification of actions highlighted that better understanding plausible futures helps to design actions that target specific developments or are robust across developments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 Book of Abstracts: Wageningen Soil Conference
Subtitle of host publicationWorking together on solutions for a sustainable world
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventWageningen Soil Conference 2023 - Wageningen
Duration: 28 Aug 20231 Sept 2023


ConferenceWageningen Soil Conference 2023
Internet address

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