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DiverIMPACTS results

In the first three years of the DiverIMPACTS project, the team produced a wide range of results. Here is a brief summary:

1. Results from 99 meta-analyses indicate a positive impact on yields and provide evidence that crop diversification can increase associated biodiversity; however, its economic dimension, inter-annual variability, energy balance or product quality are scarcely studied and few comparisons are made at the cropping system level and beyond. The publication is available here.

2. Preliminary results from our 10 field experiments confirm the potential benefits of crop diversification on productivity, environmental impacts as well as the delivery of ecosystem services but also illustrate various trade-offs between expected benefits.

3. Crop diversification may even increase risks of agronomic and economic failures due to the high yield variability of diversification crops or the lack of references on new strategies. Adaptation of crop diversification to local conditions is therefore a key issue.

4. The combination of diversification strategies (rotation, intercropping, multiple cropping) could improve the environmental performances while maintaining economic and social performances; however, the effect is highly variable (positive or negative) and dependent on the pedo-climatic context, the performances of the reference systems and the specific management practices.

5. Quantitative changes when diversifying cropping systems in the 25 Case Studies were highly diverse and largely positive and, when occurring, the trade-offs observed between different performances dimensions were, in most cases, indicated as acceptable by case study actors. More information about the insights from the case studies is available in the mid-term learning histories here.

6. Ten Webinars have been organized to stimulate discussion and learning on ‘practical’ topics inside and outside DiverIMPACTS.

7. Collaboration with the Cluster on Crop Diversification has been consolidated, leading to joint dissemination actions and the organisation of the first European Conference on Crop Diversification.

8. An actor-oriented multi-criteria assessment framework was developed and applied to the case studies to support transition towards diversified cropping systems.

9. A preliminary indicator of ecosystem services provided by diversified crop sequences has been designed in order to help policy-makers and advisors drive crop diversification depending on the local context.

10. 46 barriers to crop diversification have been identified across the 25 case studies and three ideal-types of food system innovation settings were defined:

  1. “Changing from within”, diversification for conventional farms and commodity supply chains;
  2. “Building outside”, where diversification is integrated into organic farms and local supply chains; and
  3. “Playing horizontal”, where all value chain actors promote crop diversification strategies

The publication is available here.

12. Communicating benefits related to crop diversification was found to have a relatively weak impact on the willingness-to-pay of consumers in a lab experiment carried out in France.

13. In addition to the project website and social media, DiverIMPACTS set up the website for the Crop Diversification Cluster as well as an internal workspace supporting the collaboration within the cluster.

14. Seven newsletters have been released and provide a thorough update of the results and activities of the project.

15. Ten practice abstracts were finalised and published on Zenodo.

16. The European Conference on Crop Diversification (ECCD) was organised in Budapest by ÖMKI and INRAE, in collaboration with the cluster partners. The conference attracted as many as 215 participants from 25 countries. The outcomes of the conference is available via the dedicated website. The presentations and the full proceedings are stored on the Zenodo Community of the event

The project, which runs until May 2022, will continue to work on these topics and produce a range of new outputs. To stay up to date, have a look at the DiverIMPACTS news, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube feeds as well as the DiverIMPACTS community on Zenodo.