Ecological interactions in field, farms and landscapes

Last changed: 05 March 2024
A field with maize and groundnut intercropping.

We are studying how to achieve resource-efficient cropping systems while supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water retention, and nutrient cycling.

Investigating interactions between crops, other organisms, and their environments can reveal opportunities to reduce input use and to integrate greater natural habitat and biodiversity in cropping systems. We aim to identify strategies that allow farmers to harness these interactions, producing crop yields of good quality and quantity while simultaneously promoting ecosystem services that benefit farmers, wider society, and the environment.

For instance, we are exploring the use of intercrops, service crops (e.g. cover crops) and agroforestry. Within these complex systems, we investigate the competition and cooperation between crop species and their impacts on crop yields and quality, weed, pest and disease suppression, biodiversity, and soil fertility.

Ongoing projects

Diversification of cropping systems and intercropping

Sustainable nutrient supply

  • EcoDiv – An Ecological Framework to Advance Crop Diversification in Southern Africa, funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA Global Postdoctoral Fellowships, Chloe MacLaren, Ingrid Öborn, in partnership with CIMMYT Southern Africa (Christian Thierfelder, Blessing Mhlanga, Joao Silva)
  • UPSCALE – Upscaling the benefits of push-pull technology for sustainable agricultural intensification in East Africa, funded by Horizon Europe (led by Justus Liebig University of Gießen), Sigrun Dahlin, Shem Kuyah, et al.

Completed projects


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