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Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-04-01 - 2020-09-30

The project ensures - in the sense of a participative action research - the scientific monitoring and documentation of the construction of a network of seed savers for traditional crops of the Alpine region in the municipality of Assling. At the core of the activities is the establishment of a network of gardeners and farmers, who grow traditional crops such as poppy, horse bean, turnips or potatoes, who preserve the local varieties of these crops and pass them on to the community. Since seeds and the associated local knowledge represent both tangible and intangible cultural heritage - comparable to books - the library Assling is closely involved in the project. In the near future it should be possible not only to borrow books in the library Assling, but also seeds of the Assling seed savers network. Anyone who has successfully cultivated and harvested returns part of the harvested seed back to the library in the following year, and shares his or her knowledge of at the library cafe, which also discusses gardening knowledge. The network of Asslinger seed savers is embedded in a series of educational measures. These are intended to increase understanding of the importance of seed saving and to provide the necessary technical skills that are essential for successful seed saving.
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.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations