Title                             Multisectoral analysis of climate and land use change impacts on pollinators, plant diversity and crops yields

Lead PI                        Louis François, University of Liège, Belgium

Partner PI                    Nicolas Dendoncker, University of Namur, Belgium
                                     Koos Biesmeijer, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
                                     Merja Tölle, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany
                                     Thomas Hickler, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Germany
                                     Christoph Müller, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
                                     Luca Testi, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain
                                     Veronika Gaube, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria

Funding Agencies     FFG, Austria
                                    BMBF, Germany
                                    FNRS, Belgium
                                    AEI, Spain
                                    NWO, NL
                                    BELSPO, Belgium


The objective of this project is to study quantitatively the feedback processes linking pollinators, plant diversity and crop yields in the framework of climate and land use changes. The response of agricultural yields to climate change is critically dependent on these feedbacks that until now remain largely unexplored. In order to fill this gap, we will focus on studying interactions between three main sectors: biodiversity/nature conservation, forestry and agriculture. Within agriculture, the emphasis will be put on three sub-sectors: fruit crops, food/fodder crops and energy crops. We will use diverse types of crop and vegetation models to estimate the impacts of climate change on each studied sector in several case study regions in Europe. The study will be undertaken with local stakeholders, who will identify most relevant topics to be addressed by the consortium. The interdependencies between the sectors will be analysed through the dynamics of land use and land cover on the one hand and dynamics of pollinator communities on the other hand. 

We will assemble a small set of complementary models to capture the dynamics of this complex system at regional level. First, we will produce spatio-temporal high-resolution climatic scenarios over the studied regions, by using a regional climate model.  Then, we will use various (agricultural/fruit) crop models, dynamic vegetation models and species distribution models to assess the impacts of future climate change on agricultural yields and biodiversity, using ensemble means whenever relevant. An agent-based model will then be used to derive detailed land use and land cover change scenarios for the future at the scale of the studied regions. This suite of models will allow to assess potential impacts on pollinator communities. This improved knowledge of pollinator dynamics will then be used to refine the calculation of some agricultural yields, especially those of some selected fruit crops. Finally, the social and economic impacts of the projected changes in the studied regions will be evaluated, by assessing quantitative indicators developed from the model results in concertation with project stakeholders.

The study will be driven by stakeholder interests. Pollinator decline, fruit crop damage, and more generally, climate change impacts on crop yields are problems of increasing concern among stakeholders. We will shape the project along the major problems identified in each studied region by local stakeholders. A web platform will be developed with online tools allowing to visualize results on selected regions or to perform simple simulations of interest for the user. This platform will be designed for potential end-users of project results, by involving stakeholders from the start of the project.