Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


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The SEAMLESS EU Project   

(System for Environmental and Agricultural Modelling; Linking European Science and Society) was an Integrated Project in the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union.

The Head of the Integrated Project was Dr. Martin Ittersum, University of Wageningen, the Netherlands. The Project started in January 2005 and last until December 2009. Its work continues in the frame of the SEAMLESS association:   

The project and the association will develop an integrated framework (SEAMLESS-IF) which integrates approaches from economic, environmental and social sciences to enable assessment of the impact of policy and behavioural changes and innovations in agriculture and agroforestry. Contributions of agriculture to sustainable development and multifunctionality will be assessed at different spatial scales from farm to global, allowing consideration of both top-down and bottom-up approaches to land management change. Innovative software architecture will be used to facilitate the use of quantitative biophysical and economic models and databases in combination, and to ensure re-usability of these tools well beyond the lifetime of the project. Indicators will be operationalised to communicate key information to users and between scales or disciplines, and methods for establishing threshold values for these indicators will be clarified. Qualitative tools will also be integrated into SEAMLESS-IF, to take into account institutional and social contexts. SEAMLESS-IF will be developed reflexively, using selected test cases to evaluate and improve the tools and assess utility. The development of the framework will use participatory approaches to user involvement and dissemination, and to ensure applicability for prime users (EC DGs Research, Agriculture and Environment) and other users. SEAMLESS-IF will allow ex-ante analyses of the impacts of policy and behavioural changes, through clarification of the benefits, costs, and externalities associated with farming system management. Interactions between the EU, associated candidate countries and the rest of the world will be assessed by incorporating appropriate models. SEAMLESS-IF aims at rapidly becoming essential for integrated assessment of agricultural systems in the context of agro-ecological innovations, rural development, sustainability, agricultural policy reform, EU enlargement, and world trade liberalisation.

The SEAMLESS Association   

can be seen as a continuation of the EU SEAMLESS project, which developed an Integrated Framework for Integrated Assessments based on linkage of individual components (models, data, indicators) that enables analyses of the environmental, economic and social contributions of a multi-functional agriculture and the effects of a broad range of issues (e.g. climate change, new policies, innovation).

Prof. Insa Theesfeld worked as task leader in the SEAMLESS project and supervised an international working group which combined institutional policy analysis with formalised agri-environmental policy impact assessment. Under the lead of Prof. Insa Theesfeld, this working group has developed the Procedure for Institutional Compatibility Assessment (PICA) as an approach with high assessment potential. The working group involved as additional partners the Cemagref in France, the LEI in the Netherlands, the VUZE in Czech Republic, and the Lund University in Sweden.

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