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Developing SUstainable PERmanent Grassland systems and policies. (SUPER-G)

The existence and management of permanent grasslands (PG) is key to the delivery of multiple ecosystem services (ES) across Europe. However, PG maintenance and functions are under threat from sub-optimal management of inputs, cultivation in higher output farming systems and abandonment in remote and marginal areas. The overall objective of the SUPER-G project is to co-develop sustainable PG systems and policies with farmers and policy makers that will be effective in optimising productivity, whilst supporting biodiversity and delivering a number of other ES.

SUPER-G will apply a multi-actor approach, working with farmers; land owners/managers and their advisers; third sector and civil society groups; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and researchers, policy and business communities to achieve:

- better understanding of the importance and functioning of PG.
- benchmarking of PG performance across Europe.
- codevelopment of integrated approaches for profitable and sustainable PG management.
- co-development of tools and policy mechanisms, which are inclusive of stakeholder and citizen priorities, to support the maintenance and sustainable management of PG.

The project will last five years to allow time for the establishment of farm networks for data gathering and analysis; and the development of good grassland practices, innovative techniques and farm-level and policy support tools

Using a responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach, the project will develop a comprehensive European grassland typology and a shared conceptual model of how PG can deliver in terms of productivity, biodiversity and other ES such as climate regulation, water quality, mediation of water flows and erosion control. The potential of PG to deliver multiple ES will be informed by benchmarking and testing, involving a network of farms and experimental platforms in 14 countries covering the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Continental, Alpine, Pannonian and Boreal regions.

Universidad de Córdoba

The SUPER-G proposal has the following detailed objectives:
- Use an ecosystem approach to co-develop sustainable PG systems that are cost-effective and easily managed by farmers and land managers; and policy options that deliver ES for policy makers.
- Improve understanding of the distribution and state of PG in Europe, the impact of maintaining or increasing the PG area and the challenges associated with doing so.
- Develop a grassland typology that covers the range of grassland systems in Europe and allows comparison of ES delivery between contrasting regions and PG systems.
- Analyse the main farming systems managing PG to improve farm organisation and promote ES delivery.
- Develop robust and meaningful agri-environment indicators for ES delivery by grassland-based systems.
-Gather data and information to benchmark and model the ability of PG to deliver farm productivity, profitability and key ES within a selection of biogeographic regions.
- Improve understanding of trade-offs and synergies associated with the management of PG for ES delivery in a range of contexts and scenarios
- Clarify the benefits PG provides for society and generate policy options that are either tailored to or robust across multiple PG contexts to deliver the range of ES.
- Develop farm-level and policy decision support tools for the management of PG to enhance the productivity and profitability of grazing livestock farms (and/or other innovative uses and markets for grassland products) and the delivery of ES to society.
- Provide clear guidance to farmers/advisers and policy makers for optimal PG management, taking into account contrasting priorities for ES delivery in different regions/farming systems, but also impacts of management options and system approaches on local rural communities.

The University of Cordoba is in charge of the Work Programmes:
WP2 - Delivering sustainable systems
WP3 - Benchmarking and testing
WP4 - Securing performance
WP6 - Communication & Dissemination

D6.10 European summer school webinars.

- Benchmarking of grassland outputs based on local and regional site conditions across Europe.
- Provision of farm-level tools for the management of permanent grasslands taking into account environmental, economic and social dimensions.
- Enhanced cooperation and knowledge Exchange.
Improved policy instruments for the conservation of biodiversity and delivery of identified ES and climate action provided by PG and appropriate incentives to reduce conflict between the delivery of contrasting ES such as primary production, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration.
- Integrated scientific support for relevant EU policies.
- Strengthening of transdisciplinary research and long-lasting implementation of the results obtained through the implementation of the multi-actor approach.


Code PAIDI: AGR-127

Tom Steven K. Vanwalleghem . Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 645,125.00

Keywords: Permanent grassland, sustainability, ecosystem services, transdisciplinary, multi-actor
Duration: 60 months. June, 1th 2018 to May, 31th 2023
Project cost: € 9,994,996.83