The research group

The Sustainable Agroecosystems Group was established in March 2013 at ETH-​Zurich. We are part of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-​USYS).

Our research focuses on the feedbacks between ecosystem management options (e.g., tillage, cover cropping, green manuring, sustainable farming, and grazing), global change (e.g., elevated CO2 and climate change), and biogeochemical cycling. More specifically, we study the complex interactions between plants (e.g., diversity, nutrient uptake, and root growth), soil (e.g, structure, texture and mineralogy), soil biota (e.g. fungi, bacteria, and earthworms), and the carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems, especially agroecosystems. Our general approach is to integrate field sampling, laboratory analyses, and mathematical modeling to investigate whole system dynamics under current and future environmental conditions.

We conduct our experimental work from the micro-​to landscape scale and subsequently integrate it with modeling to interpolate and extrapolate it to the regional and global scale. The modeling has also as goals to identify gaps in our knowledge, generate testable hypotheses, and test the mechanistic bases of the models. Furthermore, bio-​economic modeling is conducted in collaboration with economic and social scientists to holistically assess the sustainability of agriculture.