LIFE Research Area

Future agricultural Production Systems 

The demands now being placed on future agricultural production systems are various and complex. Given climate change, increasing digitalisation, and the great importance of agriculture for food supply and environment, new, systemic and sustainable solutions are clearly required.

By making use of our transdisciplinary expertise, we are able to address a variety of agricultural issues and to develop related strategies and concepts.

Credit: Versuchsstation Obst- und Weinbau Haidegg/Leonhard Steinbauer

Climate Change Mitigation in Agriculture

Climate change represents an increasing production risk for agriculture and requires several adaptation measures at the farm, regional and institutional level.

Such measures need to take account of crop management, technical, preventive or direct measures, and risk management strategies.

Microeconomic Modelling and Methods of Data Acquisition

The economic viability of agricultural production systems is highly affected by climate change-induced production losses and adaptation measures. Based on several microeconomic modelling approaches, it is possible to

  • compare risk management tools
  • represent the economic impacts of climate change at the farm level
  • and, in combination with data acquisition methods, make statements about entire sectors of agriculture.

Socio-economic data provide both a description of economic performance and an analysis of the long-term economic development of a sector.

Social and economic knowledge about a sector provides an essential basis for assessing the effects of political and operational measures (such as investment priorities or changes in production processes) and their targeted orientation. In addition to classical data collection methods, microeconomic modelling is also used, as is the analysis of representative farms within the framework of a "Typical Farm Approach".

Current Research

Land Use, Carbon Storage and Geophysical Effects

Agricultural and forestry land use systems not only play a decisive role in the production of food and wood products, but also represent an important link in the fight against climate change. Through the production of living and dead biomass, as well as through the soils themselves, they possess an enormous potential for carbon storage. For this reason, and with regard to their geophysical effects, the sustainable management of such systems is an essential factor in climate change. Even the evaporation effects arising from agricultural areas can provide additional small-scale and regional climatic improvements (e.g. the avoidance of urban heat islands).

LIFE models carbon fluxes between land use options, products and the atmosphere, while taking account of geophysical effects such as albedo.

Digitalisation in Agriculture

Digitalisation provides a multitude of new opportunities both in daily life as well as in  numerous areas of economic activity. The digitalisation of the agricultural value added chain enables the development of new business models, as well as an increase in the efficiency of agricultural production (e.g. "precision farming").


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LIFE is researching new forms of urban agriculture with the aim of increasing the sustainability of the food supply.

New value Chains in Agriculture

In addition to more diversification and risk management on the production side, new approaches also need to be adopted on the customer side. This can entail the development of new production and marketing cycles, alternative supply chains or extended uses of raw materials.

Such (partly) new value-added chains require both an analysis of environmental impacts as well as consideration of socio-economic and macro-economic issues.

Current Research