A wide spectrum of research topics is represented in the work group OPATS

In the context of classical, production oriented organic plant production we develop scientific basics for management strategies to secure or improve yields under difficult or changing soil and climatic conditions.

In agroecosystems research our major focus is on nutrient cycling under low input/organic management within a given plant-soil-system of a confined field site, as well as on a regional scale, e.g. in peri-urban agricultural systems. We apply established and innovative methods to determine the nutrient content of different plant and soil fractions, including leaching and gaseous losses (GHG-emmissions), and model nutrient flows.To cover the interactions with animal-based systems we closely collaborate with the department of Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, headed by Prof. Dr. E. Schlecht.

Agriculture in the tropics and subtropics faces the challenge of achieving/maintaining food security while preserving sensitive (natural) ecosystems, often in areas prone to environmental, social and political instability. The interdependence of agroecosystems with human activities widens the scope of research even further, towards a concept of coupled social-ecological systems, which provides the theoretical framework for some of our collaborative, interdisciplinary projects.

Our work group runs a variety of externally funded, individual as well as cooperative research projects. Funds are granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Federal Ministery of Education and Research (BMBF), Volkswagen-Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and others. Throughout the various research sites with correspondingly different external conditions the guiding themes of our research are:

      • Sustainable land use systems:
        Soil, climate, nutrient cycles
        Crop yields and quality
        GIS and remote sensing
      • Urban and peri-urban agriculture
      • Agricultural livelihoods

      >>> Survey of current and completed research projects.

      Work ethics: Following the Rules of Good Scientific Practice, we strive for unbiased, independent, high quality research, driven by scientific curiosity. We encourage critical and creative thinking, but also the awareness of a scientist’s responsibility with regard to the impact of his/her research. We expect and oblige ourselves to sensitivity, tolerance, and respect when working with colleagues of different cultural backgrounds. We believe that a spirit of joint research can help to overcome historical barriers and contribute to the progress and sustainability of human societies.

      Guidelines of the University of Kassel for Good Scientific Practice

      Recommendations of the DFG-commission for self-surveillance in science