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Adaptation strategies for sustainable ecosystem services and food security under adverse environmental conditions


The urgency of prioritizing agronomy research that allows mankind to produce sufficient amounts of high quality food in a sustainable way is driven by multiple reasons, with three of them appearing to be most urgent: First, there is a global need of increasing food production by 60-70% until 2050 to feed over nine billion inhabitants. Second, there will most likely be less water and energy available in the future than is used today as agriculture is under pressure to decrease its water, carbon and energy footprints to become sustainable in the long term. Third, the effects of ongoing climate change with a distinct warming trend across the globe is already leading to changes in the distribution of hydroclimatic variability, while uncertainty remains in the relationship between global warming and the frequency and severity of extremes. There is also concern about the deteriorating food quality or risks posed by the future occurrence of pests and diseases in some key production regions, which might be further amplified under climate change. These alternations for modern agronomy will occur in times when we are already faced with a high degree of volatility in food prices underlined with their overall and ever closer connection to the price of crude oil.

The key objective of this project is to provide a holistic solution in the form of strategic pathways for adapting the Czech Republic (and Central Europe) to be able to deliver ecosystem services in a sustainable way, while maintaining food security in the region but also contributing food production to other parts of Europe and of the world which are likely to be even more severally hit by climate change. Therefore, expected conditions will be estimated through a novel “Climate Change Envelope” methodology combining knowledge (and probabilities) of emission pathways, weighted results of validated climate models as well as using instrumental (measured) and proxy (sources of climate information from natural archives) data. This will allow to estimate the probability of adverse conditions and their impacts on key ecosystem services combining in-sillico (performed on computer or via computer simulation) and in vivo (within the living) experiments. These experiments will be designed to test potential and efficiency of various adaptation measures adopted in order to sustain the key ecosystem services and their economic feasibility. Then the downscaled and localized GLObal BIOsphere Management model (GLOBIOM-Czech) will be developed, validated and applied in order to develop quantitative national adaptation pathways by upscaling the experiment results to the country level within the international context. This will allow to consider the sustainability of ecosystem services in a holistic manner taking into account interactions of adaptation measures as well as their biophysical and economic feasibility under expected climate and socio-economic conditions. Finally a roadmap to test and eventually alter these adaptation pathways through a multi-criterial evaluation of a set of quantitative indicators (e.g. new high resolution remotely sensed data or long-term experiments) which will be objectively verifiable, will allow monitoring of pathway implementation and efficiency in the next stage of the project.

While focusing on the Czech Republic, the project will develop state of the art methods and tools for national as well as local adaptation pathways design. This is a challenge which any country in the world is currently facing. The large general interest of the topic together with the cross-cutting nature of the project offer a unique opportunity for achieving internationally highly regarded scientific results, while maintaining very significant practical impact on the national level.


Latest results


Recent European drought extremes beyond Common Era background variability

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Predicted climate change will increase the truffle cultivation potential in central Europe

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Ecosystem transpiration and evaporation: Insights from three water flux partitioning methods across FLUXNET sites

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Ecological and conceptual consequences of Arctic pollution

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All results


TOP results


Current European flood-rich period exceptional compared with past 500 years

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Mitigation efforts will not fully alleviate the increase in water scarcity occurrence probability in wheat-producing areas.

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European mushroom assemblages are darker in cold climates.

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Global impacts of future cropland expansion and intensification on agricultural markets and biodiversity.

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Limited capacity of tree growth to mitigate the global greenhouse effect under predicted warming.

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The importance of “year zero” in interdisciplinary studies of climate and history.

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Decline in climate resilience of European wheat.

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Journal papers


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All posters summary






Study of the influence of increased CO2 concentration on controlled ecosystems in combination with the effects of drought stress, UV radiation and nutrition
Research into the effects of CO2 on physiological (photosynthesis, water regime) and biochemical processes in plants
Research on the relationship between water balance and nutrition on substance fluxes in crops and fast-growing tree species
Development and application of ecosystem models, remote sensing methods and other agroclimatological tools and applications

Location: Bohemian-Moravian Highlands
Altitude: 590 m above sea level
Average annual temperature (1981-2010): 7.2 ° C
Average annual rainfall (1981-2010): 609 mm

Video (Experimental station Domaninek, Czech Republic)





Field experiment for testing of adaptation and mitigation measures and for the validation of biophysical models. The no-till sowing and biochar application are tested. The five important field crops are cultivated within the crop rotation. The soil properties, crop growth and development, yields, emissions etc. are evaluated using various methods including in situ measurements and remote sensing.

Location: Middle Moravia
Altitude: 200 m above sea level
Average annual temperature (1981-2010): 9.2 °C
Average annual rainfall (1981-2010): 556 mm


Březová nad Svitavou



Study of the influence of different amounts of nitrogen fertilization in combination with carbon application in the form as biochar or compost and with the effects of drought stress on physiological (photosynthesis, water regime), biochemical processes in crops, and leaching of mineral nitrogen from the agricultural ecosystem.
Research on the effect of no till management with intermediate crop in comparison with traditional way of management.
Development and application of ecosystem models, remote sensing methods and other agroclimatological tools and applications

Location: Bohemian-Moravian Highlands
Altitude: 460-475 m above sea level
Average annual temperature (2000-2012): 7.6 ° C
Average annual rainfall (2000-2012): 629 mm


Bílý kříž


Long-term monitoring of energy and substance fluxes
Researching physiological processes (photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration)
Understanding the functioning of the spruce ecosystem as a whole and predicting its future behavior in changing climate conditions
Proposals for measures to maintain, or more precisely to increase the ability of the spruce ecosystem to capture CO2 from the atmosphere

Video (Experimental station Bílý Kříž, Czech Republic)

Location: Moravian–Silesian Beskids
Altitude: 850 – 908 m above sea level
Average annual temperature (1998 – 2011): 6.7 °C
Average annual rainfall (1998 – 2011): 1239 mm
Ecosystem: Spruce forest (35 years old)


Remote sensing


3D modelling of forest structure from airborne and terrestrial laser scanning data towards better understanding of forest radiation budget and sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence signal.
Estimation of forest structure and inventory parameters (e.g. individual tree detection, species composition, tree height, crown width and productivity (e.g. aboveground biomass, leaf area) at different scales using airborne and satellite remote sensing data.
Studying thermal heat fluxes in urban systems to support effective town planning and improve human well-being in towns.

Main research activities:
Up-scaling of leaf-level spectral and biochemical properties to canopies and landscapes through 3D radiative transfer modelling.
Quantitative estimation of vegetation traits (including leaf pigments, water content, leaf area index) for various types of crops and forests using different types of remote sensing data


Chamber experiments


Phenotyping platform is a facility equipped with automatically moving belt where pots are evenly placed on and are shifted among measuring points (VNIR/RGB imaging, weighing of pots to control irrigation according to prior determined irrigation schedule).

Physiological and final yields responses of main agricultural crops to heat and drought stress at key plant developmental stages are tested by series of pot experiments using fully controlled environmental conditions of growth chambers. Growth chamber enables set up of daily schedule of air temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and relative humidity courses.

Video (Phenotyping platform in a greenhouse)

Physiological and final yields responses of main agricultural crops to heat and/or drought stress at key plant developmental stages are tested by series of pot experiments using either fully controlled environmental conditions of growth chambers or phenotyping platform.

Growth chamber enables set up of daily schedule of air temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and relative humidity courses.


Project team

Work packages

The research program is divided into four work packages (WP) which carry out four research activities. Each activity is carried out by distinguished research team.

Work package 1 (WP1)


Team WP1 is responsible for the development of the new concept for estimating climate change envelope (CliChE). Its task is to develop and apply new or innovative methods that will allow not only to determine overall long-term impact of climate change but also determine the impact of changes in the extreme events frequency and/orintensity and especially to allow estimation of the efficacy of the various adaptation measures. For the latter the CliChE methodology has to allow not only to determine the range of expected change of climate parameters, but also assign probability to such changes. The expected climatic change envelope will be directly used by WP2 and WP3 in their efforts to assess impacts and identify adaptation measures but also the most likely range of climate change will be considered in designing of their experiments.



Work package 2 (WP2)


WP2 team will focus on understanding acclimation processes from the molecular to the ecosystem level, evaluation of the impact of the expected long-term climate change and short-term extreme events, understanding the interactions and temporal dynamics and interactions of multiple factors, and strive to parameterize a number of key biophysical models. The outputs of this team will allow not only to estimate with much greater accuracy the climate change impact on key ecosystem services, but also allows you to define priority areas for the development of adaptation measures.

Work package 3 (WP3)


The team WP3 is responsible for the development of adaptation measures that are grouped into three pillars: i) agriculture technology in particular tillage and cultivation technologies, ii) phenotyping of plants for the selection of new genotypes and methods for evaluating the interaction of genotype x environment iii) decision and prediction systems incorporating also methods of remote sensing and precision agriculture. Defining adaptation measures will be an iterative process which will evaluate efficiency of adaptation measures and identify overall impact of climate change on the ecosystem services. The effect of anticipated impacts and adaptation measures on emissions greenhouse gases emissions will be also considered. Overall analysis of impacts, adaptation measures and green house gases mitigation potential will be a key outcome of the project. WP3 will employ the costs-benefits analysis in order to estimate and compare efficiency individual adaptation measures.



Work package 4 (WP4)


WP4 team focuses on developing tools and especially on drafting holistic adaptation strategy (-ies). These will link all considered adaptation measures in the landscape into one functional and mutually supporting strategy that will allow to respond flexibly to changes in climate and socio-economical parameters. Holistically conceived adaptation strategies should prevent situations when adaptation measures focused at maintaining / enhancing one ecosystem services (e.g. food production) put in jeopardy other key service (e.g. water availability, etc.). This comprehensive task will require seamless combination of methods which will enable to capture dynamics of global drivers resulting from climate change as well as regional specifics.

Project team

Acosta, Manuel (Profile page)

Ač, Alexander (Profile page)

Arbelaez, Juliana (Profile page)

Bakó, Monika (Profile page)

Balek, Jan (Profile page)

Bartošová, Lenka (Profile page)

Bělínová, Monika (Profile page)

Benáček, Patrik (Profile page)

Bláhová, Monika (Profile page)

Bohuslav, Jakub (Profile page)

Brázdil, Rudolf (Profile page)

Büntgen, Ulf (Profile page)

Bystřická, Lucie (Profile page)

Ceulemans, Reinhart (Profile page)

Cienciala, Emil (Profile page)

Čáslavský, Josef (Profile page)

Čejka, Tomáš (Profile page)

Dařenová, Eva (Profile page)

Dížková, Petra (Profile page)

Dobranschi, Marian (Profile page)

Dobrovolný, Petr (Profile page)

Dohnal, Stanislav (Profile page)

Dolák, Lukáš (Profile page)

Dubrovský, Martin (Profile page)

Esper, Jan (Profile page)

Farda, Aleš (Profile page)

Fischer, Milan (Profile page)

Gargallo Garriga, Albert (Profile page)

Ghisi, Tomáš (Profile page)

Grace, John (Profile page)

Grégrová, Jarmila (Profile page)

Halenka, Milan (Profile page)

Hampel, David (Profile page)

Hanel, Martin (Profile page)

Hanušová, Hana (Profile page)

Harmáčková, Zuzana (Profile page)

Harrison-Hepworth, Paula Ann (Profile page)

Hlaváčová, Marcela (Profile page)

Hlavinka, Petr (Profile page)

Holman, Ian Paul (Profile page)

Holub, Jan (Profile page)

Holub, Petr (Profile page)

Homolová, Lucie (Profile page)

Hrdlička, Jan (Profile page)

Jansen, Marcel (Profile page)

Juráň, Stanislav (Profile page)

Karlický, Václav (Profile page)

Kersebaum, Kurt Christian (Profile page)

Klem, Karel (Profile page)

Kolář, Tomáš (Profile page)

Kováč, Daniel (Profile page)

Kozáčiková, Michaela (Profile page)

Kudláčková, Lucie (Profile page)

Kyselý, Jan (Profile page)

Lhotka, Ondřej (Profile page)

Lopaur, František (Profile page)

Lukeš, Petr (Profile page)

Macháčová, Kateřina (Profile page)

Marek, Michal V. (Profile page)

Meitner, Jan (Profile page)

Mikula, Jiří (Profile page)

Mishra, Kumud (Profile page)

Mishra, Anamika (Profile page)

Montagová, Hana (Profile page)

Možný, Martin (Profile page)

Nagy, Viktor (Profile page)

Nendel, Class (Profile page)

Ofori-Amanfo, Kojo Kwakye (Profile page)

Olesen, Joergen Eivind (Profile page)

Omachlíková, Denisa (Profile page)

Opoku, Emmanuel (Profile page)

Oravec, Michal (Profile page)

Orság, Matěj (Profile page)

Oulehle, Filip (Profile page)

Patra, Sneha (Profile page)

Pavelka, Marian (Profile page)

Pavlík, Martin (Profile page)

Penčevová, Radka (Profile page)

Peňuelas, Josep (Profile page)

Pernicová, Natálie (Profile page)

Pikl, Miroslav (Profile page)

Pohanková, Eva (Profile page)

Polách, Vojtěch (Profile page)

Potopová, Vera (Profile page)

Puranik, Swati (Profile page)

Rajsner, Lukáš (Profile page)

Roshka, Ina (Profile page)

Růžek, Pavel (Profile page)

Rybníček, Michal (Profile page)

Řehoř, Jan (Profile page)

Sándor, Roman (Profile page)

Sardans, Jorge (Profile page)

Semerádová, Daniela (Profile page)

Skalák, Petr (Profile page)

Sochová, Irena (Profile page)

Střelec, Luboš (Profile page)

Šimečková, Jana (Profile page)

Špunda, Vladimír (Profile page)

Šťěpánek, Petr (Profile page)

Švik, Marian (Profile page)

Thaler, Sabina (Profile page)

Trnka, Miroslav (Profile page)

Tříska, Jan (Profile page)

Urban, Otmar (Profile page)

Václavík, Tomáš (Profile page)

Vavříková, Jana (Profile page)

Večeřová, Kristýna (Profile page)

Veselá, Barbora (Profile page)

Vítek, Petr (Profile page)

Vizina, Adam (Profile page)

Vrchotová, Naděžda (Profile page)

Wagner, Wolfgang (Profile page)

Záhora, Jaroslav (Profile page)

Zahradníček, Pavel (Profile page)

Zahradníčková, Marie (Profile page)

Žalud, Zdeněk (Profile page)


SustES project – General Assembly and Strategic Meeting


Location: Mikulov, Czechia


SustES meeting


Location: Telč, Czechia


Scientific Writing Course


Location: Brno, Czechia


SustES meeting


Location: Bořetice, Czechia


SustES online meeting


Location: Zoom meeting


Online workshop on the status of writing papers/early results of research WP1 & WP4


Location: Zoom meeting


Online workshop on the status of writing papers/early results of research WP2 & WP3


Location: Zoom meeting




Global Change Research Institute CAS

Bělidla 986/4a, 603 00 Brno

The Czech Republic