Contract number



Department of Agronomy

Type of project

Research Programmes/Infrastructural Centres

Type of project

Research Programme




01.01.2020 - 31.12.2025

ARRS FTE value

2.93 FTE


2.93 FTE

Project manager at BF

Leštan Domen

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The research team of 23 scientists is multidisciplinary and brings together specialists in agronomy, soil science, botany, agrometeorology, environmental sciences, statistics and information sciences. The group is led by Prof. Dr. Domen Leštan.

Population boom and increasing world-wide demand for food are putting natural resources and agro-ecosystems in particular under increasing pressure. In Slovenia food self-sustainability is in a constant decline due to the specifics of our landscape, economy of production and social factors. The programme group is dedicated to broad and multidisciplinary research on the dynamics, functioning, diversity, use and management of different agro-ecosystems. Focus of research is on environmental and human effects on individual components of the agrocosystems (plants/ vegetation, soil and soil microorganisms, soil- and groundwater, climate and atmosphere) and underlying processes governing the response of these components (nutrient cycling, water flow, carbon and energy exchange, land use, biotic diversity and interactions).

Important parameter of agroecosystem is agricultural sustainability. Its primary variables are available agricultural land and water, which depend on competing demands from other sectors as well as natural factors like climate change. Adapting land use and improving water productivity is studied as priority measures. We strive to increase the efficiency of sustainable farming practices: top soil layers with increased fertility may result from conservation soil tillage or from increased inputs of organic matter from crop residues. Changes in climate and atmospheric composition are major factors that could greatly influence agroecosystem function and services, farm production and management, and soil degradation processes in the future. Research focuses on understanding, monitoring and predicting climate change and its impacts on agroecosystems in Slovenia, and provides recommendations for appropriate and efficient response strategies for adaptation. Soil degradation processes are increasing the need to use degraded and contaminated land, such as former landmine sites in Slovenia and urban areas where urban horticulture is thriving, fulfilling a variety of functions, including food production and community building. Efficient and sustainable soil rehabilitation / remediation technologies are tested for agricultural use. As primary producers the response of plants is an integral indicator of agroecosystem productivity.  Effects of environmental limitation due to abiotic and biotic factors are reflected in plant growth, structure and usability for food and feed. Physiology and biochemistry of plants is studied in the plants exposed to abiotic stressors, plants exposed to different managing practices such as irrigation and soil manipulation treatments (e.g. conservation tillage, soil remediation); effects of future climate on plants is addressed.

Here are the most important research achievements of the programme group in the past year.