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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-01-01 - 2021-07-31

This research develops scenarios to improve the ecological quality of Urban Agro-Food Systems (UAFS). These scenarios serve as an experimenting and learning tool to initiate a societal discourse on UAFS and to delineate transition pathways for more sustainable UAFS. The scenarios are built around the three sub-systems farming, food processing/transportation and food consumption. Guiding scenarios are: I. Business as usual scenario: current average Austrian diet pattern (91 kg/cap/yr meat; 30y% animal products in caloric intake); global supply. II. Organic / Conventional current diet scenario: 100% organic / 100% conventional food consumption and current diet pattern III. Organic / Conventional low meat diet scenario: 100% organic / conventional farming; 20kg/cap/yr meat consumption The scenarios II and III will be calculated for two spatial variants (food production closest to consumers and food production according to comparative locational advantages). An interdisciplinary model of the UAFS will be designed to calculate and assess the ecological and economic impacts of the different scenarios. The scenario and model development will be accompanied by a transdisciplinary research process, in which the different scenarios and their consequences will be studied and assessed together with relevant stakeholder groups. Transdisciplinary methods will also be used to design transition pathways for each scenario.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-10-01 - 2019-09-30

Agrobiodiversity and the related local knowledge on its management are essential not only to food security and to economic development, but also to the maintenance of ecosystem services. Agrobiodiversity has been shaped by farmers and communities for millennia and remains a key element of the livelihood strategies small-scale farmers through the world. Agrobiodiversity and the related local knowledge is endangered due to a lack of reasons (e.g. intensified agricultural practices), as well as insufficient inclusion of conservation of agrobiodiversity in policy frameworks. Also in MAB biosphere reserves, agrobiodiversity and related knowledge have potential to be included in management plans & conservation strategies. The study aims to better understand the role of agrobiodiversity and local knowledge of small scale farmers in the Biosphere Reserve Oxapampa Ashaninka Yanesha (RBOAY) in Peru. We want to support the sustainable management of this biosphere reserve by including local but also global knowledge on the diversity of traditional crops, cultivars and wild gathered species and agrobiodiversity farming practices into the Biosphere’s management plan. Our development goal is to contribute with the conservation of agrobiodiversity in ways that improve the livelihoods of rural communities and sustain ecosystem functions in the RBOAY We believe that much information on these topics is available already but not yet available in the study are in an accessible form. Therefore the focus in answering our research questions is based upon on meta-analysis of available data, participatory assessment of this data with local stakeholders, and presenting locally accessible, well designed, carefully tested answers to our research questions in the form of high quality media (video, posters) that can be used by local stakeholders for their efforts in promoting sustainability in the RBOAY. The project outcomes might reveal strategies and options that can be applied in a range of settings to manage the expanded areas under protection, both in Peru and in protected area systems globally. The project seeks to contribute to the long term sustainability of protected ecosystems by investigating and raising awareness of the value of local food crops, wild gathered species and the bio cultural landscape.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-07-01 - 2019-06-30

Farmers’ homegardens, their diversity of the plant species used and the associated knowledge of the garden managers are an integral part of the cultural landscape of the Lienz district of Eastern Tyrol. Scientists and scholars of the BG/BRG Lienz, together with high-school teachers of Biology, Mathematics & English, will investigate farmers ‘ homegardens, i.e., the plant inventory and the use of plants. The results will be compared to data collected from surveys conducted 20 years ago in the same gardens and will help identify transformations of the gardens and their management. To obtain a better understanding of the local perception of the significance of these homegardens, additionally the perception of the garden managers and their neighbors on ecosystem-services delivered by the gardens will be recorded. In the course, the management techniques that adapt to extreme weather conditions and the securing of sustainable management practices will be explored. Within the scope of a complementary citizen science module the local community will be invited to collect additional data on ecosystem-services in their homegardens. Scholars will be integrated into the entire research process with regard to their affinities and resources. In workshops they will be prepared for their cooperation. The research process, the analysis and the communication of the results will be reviewed with them. The preparation of in depth pre-scientific papers will allow particularly motivated scholars to monitor birds, insects or soil parameters in farmers’ homegardens. Complementary the project offers a gender sensitive approach and promotion of women in MINT studies. With the integration of the project into the schools subject mathematics a highly professional quantitative analysis of the results is intended. Also with the integration into the subject English the use of a technical correct terminology will be accomplished. Communication about the research process and its results will be supported by the use of the scholars’ mobile phone cameras. Experts will teach scholars, the professional handling of video and photographic images, for the purpose of documentation supplemented by inputs on creative writing techniques. Web-sites, science blogs and science slams will provide information to the broader public.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations