The development of industrial society increasingly induced industrial principles in agriculture and transformed it in social and economic terms. The main characteristics are: mechanization and automation; intensification by means of synthetic inputs and/or buying-in of compound feed with additives; specialization in one or a few agricultural branches; regional concentrations, especially in animal husbandry; as well as the rationalization of production and supply chains. Many of the (new) inputs and techniques used have a significant impact on the natural and agrarian ecosystems and require ongoing social and cultural transformations and adaptation processes. Technological changes also have a very important influence on the development of regions with natural and structural disadvantages in relation to regions with favorable conditions. All these aspects require an interdisciplinary scientific analysis as well as an exploration of possible alternative approaches.
The focus of this research area is: Biodiversity and ecosystem services; the impact of genetic engineering and biotechnology as well as aspects of GMO-free areas; effects of synthetic inputs on the agricultural system; climate change and agriculture in less-favored areas; deep ecology; sustainable and alternative use of natural resources
- Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services: Research on the relationship between modern agriculture and ecosystem services, taking into account the direct and indirect effects on ecosystems and biodiversity in mountain areas
- Genetic Engineering & GMO-free Production: Analysis and assessment of the impact of genetic and biotechnology on the ecological, economic and social dimensions of agriculture, as well as the development of alternative options in mountain areas (e.g. GMO-free areas).
- Impacts of Agricultural Inputs: Studies on the effects of synthetic inputs on ecology (direct and indirect effects) and the consequences for the agricultural system as a whole; including alternative options for action
- Climate Change: Research on the effects of climate change on agriculture and general adaptation needs in mountain areas
- Deep Ecology: Investigations on the relationship between man and nature – including ‘deep ecology’
- Natural Resources: Exploring the possibilities for sustainable and alternative use of natural resources in agriculture and forestry (agricultural resource economy)