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Ecologically and biophysically optimal allocation of expanded soy production in Bavaria, Germany

Title data

Gebhardt, Swantje ; Hänsel, Vera Maria ; Schulp, Catharina J. E. ; Kaim, Andrea:
Ecologically and biophysically optimal allocation of expanded soy production in Bavaria, Germany.
In: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. (17 August 2022) .
ISSN 2571-581X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2022.916003

Abstract in another language

A debate about cultivation and trading of soy has emerged among scientists, policymakers, and the public in recent years. Export-orientated soy production in regions of South America is associated with large-scale ecosystem destruction. Since soy is an important source of animal fodder, policymakers are developing schemes to support and enhance sustainable domestic soy cultivation, especially in the EU. Expanded soy cultivation should ideally provide high yields and at the same time promote environmental benefits. For this purpose, we applied a multi-objective optimization algorithm that selects areas with maximum soy suitability, minimum erosion risk, need for low fertilizer input due to water quality issues, and need for diversification of monotonous crop rotations. We use the state of Bavaria in Germany as a case study, modeling full self-sufficiency of soy. The results of the optimization indicate synergies between plantation suitability with need for low fertilization input and crop variation, which implies that the environmental benefit of nitrogen fixation and rotation diversification from soy plants can easily be reconciled with food productivity. However, slight trade-offs occur between erosion risk and the three other objectives, i.e., locations with better soy production might be more prone toward erosion risk. As a potential consequence of expanded soy cultivation in Bavaria, we identified winter wheat, grain maize, potatoes, and sugar beet as those crops that have the highest share of displaced cultivation area. To reduce such land use conflicts and ensure self-sufficiency in relevant crops, we recommend to limit the use of soy as animal feed. Nevertheless, we propose to explicitly incorporate the local need for the environmental benefits of soy cultivation in the planning for soy expansion. In doing so, domestic soy can turn into a real sustainable alternative to imported plant protein.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Soy cultivation; Multi-objective optimization; Spatial land-use allocation; Trade-off analysis; Ecosystem services
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professor Ecological Services
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professor Ecological Services > Professor Ecological Services - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Köllner
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 07:33
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:01
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/71752