Understanding the Loss of Traditional Agricultural Systems: A Case Study of Orchard Meadows in Germany

  • Kristine Hammel University of Hohenheim
  • Thorsten Arnold University of Hohenheim
Keywords: Agroecology, Biodiversity, Germany, Orchard Meadow, Root Causes, Traditional Agricultural System

Abstract

Traditional agricultural systems are being lost, along with their associated biodiversity and knowledge. These systems, however, could provide lessons for the development of more sustainable agricultural systems. Orchard meadows are a traditional agricultural system in central Europe that are currently undergoing precipitous decline. They are islands of biodiversity within a densely urbanized landscape and supported the food security of communities for hundreds of years. This study combines the problem-solving–oriented Root Causes Framework with the perspective of agroecology in order to examine the drivers of orchard meadow loss in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As we found, the loss of orchard meadows and their associated biodiversity is the consequence of a variety of drivers, including government policies and cultural attitudes. Furthermore, the erosion of knowledge about managing orchard meadows has itself become a driver of decline. However, the study also identified several novel market and nonmarket approaches to reversing the decline that actively engage citizens through education and training or offer real economic incentive to growers to cultivate orchard meadows.

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Author Biographies

Kristine Hammel, University of Hohenheim
Institute for Social Sciences in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim; Schloss Museumsflügel; 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.
Thorsten Arnold, University of Hohenheim
Institute for Social Sciences in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim; Schloss Museumsflügel; 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.
Published
2012-09-20
How to Cite
Hammel, K., & Arnold, T. (2012). Understanding the Loss of Traditional Agricultural Systems: A Case Study of Orchard Meadows in Germany. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(4), 119-136. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.024.011
Section
Open Call Papers