Healthy plants from healthy soils: Resilience and stability of organic cropping systems (2016 - 2017)


The promotion and maintenance of health is one of the key principles of organic agriculture. A strong criterion of health that is recognised for all domains of agriculture is resilience, i.e. the ability to recover after disturbance or stress. This project fills three critical gaps in the understanding of resilience in organic cropping systems. First, the resilience of soils has so far almost exclusively been studied in terms of the decomposition of organic matter, whereas the resilience of other critical soil functions has largely been ignored. Second, key factors that influence the resilience of annual crops to climatic stress events are currently not well understood. Third, it is unclear whether – and how – soil resilience and crop resilience may be linked, e.g. through common underlying drivers.
In this project we investigate the resilience of the soil’s ability to suppress plant diseases and the resilience of annual crops in response to climatic stress factors, using a set of long-term field experiments from three countries with a large eco-geographic range. Our results will help farmers to design more reliable and resilient cropping systems and will improve the understanding of what factors are responsible for system health in ecological farming. By exploring potential links between soil health and plant health, we will widen the currently insufficient scientific basis underlying the principle of health.


01. Februar 2016 – 31. Oktober 2017

Beteiligte am FÖL

  • Dr. Christian Bruns
  • Dipl.-Ing. Dagmar Werren


  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Döring, Deutschland (Koordinator)
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Watson, Schottland und Schweden
  • Prof. Dr. Janos Kátai, Ungarn
  • Assoc. Prof. Imre Vágó, Ungarn   


Ekhaga Stiftelsen, Schweden