When conceiving plans for environmentally friendly agriculture, policy makers and scientists often overlook a key element: the spatial organization of land use. Specifically for circular agriculture, the spatial organization is important, as the closer the source and destination of residues are located, the better loops can be closed at minimum risk and cost.
SPLENDID investigates how circular options match with their surroundings and what ecosystem services (ES) they yield in their geographical context. In Noord-Brabant – a Dutch province which exemplifies a range of agriculture-related sustainability issues – SPLENDID assesses three types of circular agriculture (nature-based, technology-based and transport-based), their spatial organization and the ES they deliver.
Circular agriculture probably requires a rigorous reorganization of the land use pattern, leading to farmers adjusting their farming practices, swapping land with other land owners or even relocating the entire farm to achieve geographical zones with farming and processing facilities ideally located to optimize the benefits of food production and related ES like animal welfare, preservation of biodiversity, landscape quality and water retention. SPLENDID will produce clear policy guidelines for realizing these objectives.