CircAgric-GHG brings together a multidisciplinary, World-leading team of scientists with expertise in integrated crop and livestock systems (ICLS), circularity, GHG mitigation, (inter-)systems modelling, digital agriculture, remote sensing, sustainable land use, and farm socio-economics. In addition to strong pan-European expertise, CircAgric-GHG includes partners from Global Research Alliance (GRA), which is a collaborative global network of researchers addressing global agricultural challenges. The overall objective of CircAgric-GHG is to enhance circularity within and between farm typologies across an agro-ecological gradient from the arctic climate in Norway, via the oceanic climate of UK and Ireland, continental climate of Germany, Mediterranean climate of Spain and Italy to the tropics in Kenya and the dry and temperate climate of South Africa – in order to drive GHG mitigation and wider food system sustainability at multiple scales (farm, local, regional, national and international). Solutions will be achieved by the combined efforts of internationally recognised scientists, stakeholders and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) including satellite and drone remote sensing, flux-tower and GreenFeed monitoring of livestock and soil emissions, and state-of-the-art environmental modelling. Through comprehensive investigation of circularity and GHG mitigation across different scales, the following key questions will be addressed: 1) How circular and “mixed” are existing farm typologies? 2) How do specific circular practices influence GHG emissions and wider environmental sustainability at different scales? 3) What are the barriers and levers to realising higher levels of circular across Europe and Africa?
European farms trend towards specialisation and high yields but have become increasingly dependent on external inputs to compensate for declining recycling of nutrients. Farms in sub-Saharan Africa less specialized, have low inputs and yields and higher vulnerability to climate change. In Europe, re-coupling of livestock and crop systems could play an important role in more efficient (re)cycling of resources across livestock and crops, and food value chains. In Africa, integrating sustainability and resilience objectives with enhanced food security could avoid some of the trade-offs currently experienced in Europe (e.g., high GHG emissions and N pollution).
CircAgric-GHG represents 17 world-leading researchers from 8 countries with expertise in livestock, cropping systems, farm and landscape modelling, LCA and ecosystem services. The consortium will draw upon state-of-the-art knowledge, research methods and models to assess how circular practices can deliver sustainable food systems. Using farm typologies as a baseline, the extent of existing circular practice implementation will be evaluated. Promising practices to enhance circularity will be proposed across typologies and agro-ecological zones. High-resolution modelling of resource cycling and GHG emissions at farm and landscape level will be undertaken using process- and farm models, with remote sensing of particularly uncertain land use emission fluxes using novel satellite and drone technology. LCA will be applied to integrate modelling outputs into environmental footprints of food production, developing a novel framework for future projects. Farm-scale modelling will also inform a marginal abatement cost curve and a decision support tool, enabling robust comparison of GHG abatement efficacy of specific circular practices. Stakeholder dialogue via workshops and focus groups will identify systemic lock-ins and levers pertinent to wide scale deployment of circular practices, culminating in a Transition Roadmap