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Shared Socio-economic Pathways for European agriculture and food systems: The Eur-Agri-SSPs

  • Mitter, Hermine1
  • Techen, Anja-K.2
  • Sinabell, Franz3
  • Helming, Katharina2
  • Schmid, Erwin1
  • Bodirsky, Benjamin L.4
  • Holman, Ian5
  • Kok, Kasper6
  • Lehtonen, Heikki7
  • Leip, Adrian8
  • Le Mouël, Chantal9
  • Mathijs, Erik10
  • Mehdi, Bano11
  • Mittenzwei, Klaus12
  • Mora, Olivier13
  • Øistad, Knut12
  • Øygarden, Lillian12
  • Priess, Jörg A.14
  • Reidsma, Pytrik15
  • Schaldach, Rüdiger16
  • And 1 more
  • 1 University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, BOKU, Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, Austria
  • 2 Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, ZALF, Germany
  • 3 Austrian Institute of Economic Research, WIFO, Austria
  • 4 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PIK, Member of the Leibniz Association, Potsdam, Germany
  • 5 Cranfield University, UK
  • 6 Wageningen University, WUR, Soil Geography and Landscape Group, the Netherlands
  • 7 Natural Resources Institute Finland, LUKE, Finland
  • 8 European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, VA, Italy
  • 9 UMR 1302 SMART-LERECO, Institut national de recherche pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement, INRAE, Rennes, Franc
  • 10 University of Leuven, KU Leuven, Division of Bioeconomics, Belgium
  • 11 University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, BOKU, Division of Agronomy, Austria
  • 12 Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NIBIO, Norway
  • 13 UAR 1241 DEPE, Institut national de la recherche agronomique, INRA, Paris, France
  • 14 Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ, Germany
  • 15 Wageningen University, WUR, Plant Production Systems Group, the Netherlands
  • 16 University of Kassel, Germany
Published Article
Global Environmental Change
Publication Date
Sep 19, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102159
PMID: 32982074
PMCID: PMC7501775
PubMed Central


Scenarios describe plausible and internally consistent views of the future. They can be used by scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to explore the challenges of global environmental change given an appropriate level of spatial and sectoral detail and systematic development. We followed a nine-step protocol to extend and enrich a set of global scenarios – the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) – providing regional and sectoral detail for European agriculture and food systems using a one-to-one nesting participatory approach. The resulting five Eur-Agri-SSPs are titled (1) Agriculture on sustainable paths, (2) Agriculture on established paths, (3) Agriculture on separated paths, (4) Agriculture on unequal paths, and (5) Agriculture on high-tech paths. They describe alternative plausible qualitative evolutions of multiple drivers of particular importance and high uncertainty for European agriculture and food systems. The added value of the protocol-based storyline development process lies in the conceptual and methodological transparency and rigor; the stakeholder driven selection of the storyline elements; and consistency checks within and between the storylines. Compared to the global SSPs, the five Eur-Agri-SSPs provide rich thematic and regional details and are thus a solid basis for integrated assessments of agriculture and food systems and their response to future socio-economic and environmental changes.

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