INBO Research Challenges

Agroecology and nature restoration

How can agriculture and nature reinforce each other?

The conflict between agriculture and nature is a prominent public concern. However, agriculture and nature have significant potential to benefit each other. INBO aims to explore and enhance the synergy between agriculture and nature.

How can we restore nature in agricultural areas? How can we reverse the decline of field and meadow birds, pollinators and other insects? How can we restore soil biodiversity, which underpins the food web? How can species exchange between protected areas be maintained across the agricultural area? How can farmers and protected area managers support each other? What are farmers' perspectives on nature within agricultural areas and its restoration? How can farmers be engaged in monitoring and conserving nature?

How can nature restoration fit into farming operations? What is the contribution of pollinators to crop production? How do predators contribute to natural pest control? How does soil biodiversity support crop production? How does nature protect agriculture from climate extremes? Agroecology, nature-inclusive agriculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests and similar approaches represent a search for farming practices that work in harmony with nature. How can we support this quest? How can we help farmers take steps in this direction?

How do we achieve an equitable food system that cares for nature? How can we involve the entire supply chain in agriculture that collaborates with nature? How can we strengthen the farmer's role in the process? How can various actors work together around common resources? How can we ensure equitable access to sufficient and healthy food for everyone, both locally and globally, while staying within planetary boundaries?

These research questions demand extensive collaboration, with each participant contributing their unique expertise. This includes interdisciplinary cooperation among agricultural researchers (including ILVO), social scientists, policy analysts, and others. It also involves transdisciplinary cooperation, where farmers, agricultural advisors, and other stakeholders are full partners in the research process. Regular interaction with policymakers is crucial for developing practical policy recommendations. We seek long-term partnerships through model farms, living labs, and learning networks, fostering area-based collaborations and engaging in systems research.

INBO thus aims to drive transformative change towards a food system that cares for nature, climate, farmers, food, the global population and the entire planet.


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