MACMIT: Climate mitigation in agricultural production systems through sustainable resource management

Junior research group funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) "Nachwuchsgruppen Globaler Wandel" (2014-2018).

Project leader: Christoph Müller

Project members: Tobias Herzfeld, Femke Lutz, Sara Minoli, Vera Porwollik, Jannes Breier


Agricultural production does not only provide goods (food, feed, fiber, fuel) to societies, but also drives environmental degradation and climate change, with agriculture being the most important emitter of non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs).This research proposal intends to study the options to reduce GHG emissions from agriculture through an improved set of management options in cropland production. For this, the need to increase production to feed a growing population as well as the need to reduce soil and water degradation to sustain the most important production means have to be accounted for as binding constraints. The main objective of this research proposal is the quantification of the reduction potential of GHG emissions from the agricultural sector. To this end, several strands will have to be combined: (1) identification of major management options in cropland production and quantification of their impacts on productivity and the environment, (2) implementation of the corresponding processes into a global process-based simulation model of agricultural systems and biogeochemical fluxes (LPJmL), (3) assessments of intensification potentials and global change challenges to secure food supply. The concluding assessment of the agricultural potential to mitigate climate change is determined by the interaction between management options to increase productivity, management options to sustain land’s productivity and the expansion of agricultural land. The sensitivity of findings to assumptions on population growth, diets, and climate change will be explicitly addressed. Findings will advance the scientific understanding of options for sustainable intensification and land-based mitigation and will inform national and international practitioners and decision makers. The project is funded for four year through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


The MACMIT project is embedded in the MUSIX research group in RD2 and the land use modeling group at PIK. Beyond that, MACMIT collaborates with several external partners, including the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and its global gridded crop model intercomparison (GGCMI).

Publications (selection)

  • Müller C, Elliott J, Chryssanthacopoulos J, Deryng D, Folberth C, Pugh T A M and Schmid E 2015 Implications of climate mitigation for future agricultural production Environmental Research Letters 10 125004, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125004.
  • van Bussel L G J, Stehfest E, Siebert S, Müller C and Ewert F 2015 Simulation of the phenological development of wheat and maize at the global scale Global Ecology and Biogeography 24 1018-29, doi: 10.1111/geb.12351.
  • Minoli S., Acutis M., Carozzi M., 2015. NH3 emissions from land application of manures and N-fertilisers: a review of the Italian literature. Italian Journal of Agrometeorology, 3, 5-24

for more publications, see publication lists of Christoph Müller, MUSIX, and the land use modeling group.