Sustainable Agroecosystems

In order to understand sustainable agriculture and implement it, we need to elucidate the feedbacks between ecosystem management options (e.g., tillage, cover cropping, green manuring, sustainable farming, and grazing), global change (e.g., elevated CO2 and climate change), and biogeochemical cycling.

Hence, we need to unravel the complex interactions between plants (e.g., diversity, nutrient uptake, and root growth), soil (e.g, structure, texture and mineralogy), soil biota (e.g. fungi, bacteria, and earthworms), and the carbon and nitrogen cycles in agroecosystems across spatial and temporal scales. Furthermore, since agriculture is an human enterprise, not only biophysical aspects, but also social and economic dimensions of sustainable agriculture needed to be elucidated. One approach to do so is bio-economic modeling through which the sustainability of agricultural practices are holistically assessed.

  • Sustainable agriculture across the world
  • Carbon cycling in terrestrial and aquatic systems
  • Soil fertility management
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
  • Global change effects terrestrial ecosystem functioning
  • Bioeconomic modeling

► Google Scholar:

  • Soil structure and microbiome functions in agroecosystems
    M Hartmann, J Six
    Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 4 (1), 4-18  2023
  • Soil biodiversity needs policy without borders
    WH van der Putten, RD Bardgett, M Farfan, L Montanarella, J Six, DH Wall
    Science 379 (6627), 32-34   2023
  • Stable Isotope Analysis of Greenhouse Gases Requires Analyte Preconcentration
    Kantnerova, Kristyna; Barthel, Matti; Six, Johan; Emmenegger, Lukas; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; et al.
    Chimia, 10.2533/chimia.2022.656 AUG 2022
  • A participatory assessment of nitrified urine fertilizer use in Swayimane, South Africa: Crop production potential, farmer attitudes and smallholder challenges
    Wilde, Benjamin C.; Lieberherr, Eva; Pereira, Engil; Odindo, Alfred; Six, Johan
    Frontiers In Sustainable Food Systems, 10.3389/fsufs.2022.781879  JUL 22 2022
  • Can sustainability certification enhance the climate resilience of smallholder farmers? The case of Ghanaian cocoa
    Thompson, W. J.; Blaser-Hart, W. J.; Joerin, J.; Krutli, P.; Dawoe, E.; et al.
    Journal Of Land Use Science, 10.1080/1747423X.2022.2097455  JAN 2 2022
  • Cassava-maize intercropping systems in southern Nigeria: Radiation use efficiency, soil moisture dynamics, and yields of component crops
    Nwokoro, Charles Chigemezu; Kreye, Christine; Necpalova, Magdalena; Adeyemi, Olojede; Barthel, Matti; et al.
    Field Crops Research,  10.1016/j.fcr.2022.108550  JUL 1 2022
  • Substantial Organic and Particulate Nitrogen and Phosphorus Export from Geomorphologically Stable African Tropical Forest Landscapes
    Baumgartner, Simon; Bauters, Marijn; Drake, Travis W.; Barthel, Matti; Alebadwa, Serge; et al.
    Ecosystems, 10.1007/s10021-022-00773-6  JUN 2022
  • Organic Molecular Signatures of the Congo River and Comparison to the Amazon
    Kurek, Martin R.; Stubbins, Aron; Drake, Travis W.; Dittmar, Thorsten; M. S. Moura, Jose; et al.
    Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 10.1029/2022GB007301  JUN 2022
  • Ebullitive CH 4 flux and its mitigation potential by aeration in freshwater aquaculture: Measurements and global data synthesis
    Fang, Xiantao; Wang, Chao; Zhang, Tianrui; Zheng, Fengwei; Zhao, Jianting; et al.
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 10.1016/j.agee.2022.108016 SEP 1 2022
  • Long-term evidence for ecological intensification as a pathway to sustainable agriculture
    MacLaren, Chloe; Mead, Andrew; van Balen, Derk; Claessens, Lieven; Etana, Ararso; et al.
    Nature Sustainability 10.1038/s41893-022-00911-x  JUN 2022
  • A well-established fact: Rapid mineralization of organic inputs is an important factor for soil carbon sequestration
    Angers, Denis; Arrouays, Dominique; Cardinael, Remi; Chenu, Claire; Corbeels, Marc; et al.
    European Journal Of Soil Science,  10.1111/ejss.13242  MAY 2022
  • Coupled forest zoning and agricultural intervention yields conflicting outcomes for tropical forest conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
    Nackoney, J.; Demol, M.; Akpona, H. A.; Bauters, M.; Boeckx, P.; et al.
    Environmental Research Letters,  10.1088/1748-9326/ac6ad8  JUN 1 2022
  • Pedoclimatic factors and management determine soil organic carbon and aggregation in farmer fields at a regional scale
    Geoderma, 10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115632  MAR 1 2022
  • Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in a Telecoupled World: Insights From Vanuatu
    Nef, Danny Philipp; Kotra, Krishna Kumar; Stauffacher, Michael; Six, Johan; Kruetli, Pius
    Frontiers In Sustainable Food Systems  10.3389/fsufs.2022.818586  MAR 23 2022
  • Soil Nitrous Oxide Emission and Methane Exchange From Diversified Cropping Systems in Pannonian Region
    Huppi, Roman; Horvath, Laszlo; Dezso, Jozsef; Puhl-Rezsek, Marietta; Six, Johan
    Frontiers In Environmental Science, 10.3389/fenvs.2022.857625  APR 4 2022
  • Moderate shading did not affect barley yield in temperate silvoarable agroforestry systems
    Vaccaro, Christina; Six, Johan; Schob, Christian
    Agroforestry Systems, 10.1007/s10457-022-00740-z  APR 2022
  • Improving Soil Resource Uptake by Plants Through Capitalizing on Synergies Between Root Architecture and Anatomy and Root-Associated Microorganisms
    Galindo-Castaneda, Tania; Lynch, Jonathan P.; Six, Johan; Hartmann, Martin
    Frontiers In Plant Science, 10.3389/fpls.2022.827369  MAR 9 2022
  • Raising up to the climate challenge-Understanding and assessing farmers' strategies to build their resilience. A comparative analysis between Ugandan and Swiss farmers
    Le Goff, Ulysse; Sander, Adelaide; Lagana, Maria Hernandez; Barjolle, Dominique; Phillips, Suzanne; et al.
    Journal Of Rural Studies,  10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.10.020  JAN 2022
  • Mixed Effects of Soil Compaction on the Nitrogen Cycle Under Pea and Wheat
    Longepierre, Manon; Feola Conz, Rafaela; Barthel, Matti; Bru, David; Philippot, Laurent; et al.
    Frontiers In Microbiology, 10.3389/fmicb.2021.822487  MAR 7 2022
  • Global maps of soil temperature
    Lembrechts, Jonas J.; van den Hoogen, Johan; Aalto, Juha; Ashcroft, Michael B.; De Frenne, Pieter; et al.
    Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16060  MAY 2022
  • Understanding changes in cassava root dry matter yield by different planting dates, crop ages at harvest, fertilizer application and varieties
    Enesi, Rebecca Oiza; Hauser, Stefan; Pypers, Pieter; Kreye, Christine; Tariku, Meklit; et al.
    European Journal Of Agronomy, 10.1016/j.eja.2021.126448  FEB 2022
  • Greenhouse gas dynamics in an urbanized river system: influence of water quality and land use
    Ho, Long; Jerves-Cobo, Ruben; Barthel, Matti; Six, Johan; Bode, Samuel; et al.
    Environmental Science And Pollution Research, 10.1007/s11356-021-18081-2  MAY 2022
  • Low N2O and variable CH4 fluxes from tropical forest soils of the Congo Basin
    Barthel, Matti; Bauters, Marijn; Baumgartner, Simon; Drake, Travis W.; Bey, Nivens Mokwele; et al.
    Nature Communications, 10.1038/s41467-022-27978-6  JAN 17 2022
  • Developing recommendations for increased productivity in cassava-maize intercropping systems in Southern Nigeria
    Nwokoro, Charles Chigemezu; Kreye, Christine; Necpalova, Magdalena; Adeyemi, Olojede; Busari, Mutiu; et al.
    Field Crops Research 10.1016/j.fcr.2021.108283  OCT 1 2021
  • Mycorrhizal fungi-mediated uptake of tree-derived nitrogen by maize in smallholder farms
    Dierks, Janina; Blaser-Hart, Wilma J.; Gamper, Hannes A.; Six, Johan
    Nature Sustainability 10.1038/s41893-021-00791-7  NOV 2021
  • Estimation of soil properties with mid-infrared soil spectroscopy across yam production landscapes in West Africa
    Baumann, Philipp; Lee, Juhwan; Frossard, Emmanuel; Schoenholzer, Laurie Paule; Diby, Lucien; Hgaza, Valerie Kouame; Kiba, Delwende Innocent; Sila, Andrew); Sheperd, Keith; Six, Johan
    Soil 10.5194/soil-7-717-2021 OCT 27 2021
  • The central African soil spectral library: a new soil infrared repository and a geographical prediction analysis
    Summerauer, Laura; Baumann, Philipp; Ramirez-Lopez, Leonardo; Barthel, Matti; Bauters, Marijn; et al.
    Soil 10.5194/soil-7-693-2021  OCT 26 2021
  • Assessing between and within Product Group Variance of Environmental Efficiency of Swiss Agriculture Using Life Cycle Assessment and Data Envelopment Analysis
    Pedolin, Dario; Six, Johan; Nemecek, Thomas
    Agronomy-basel 10.3390/agronomy11091862  SEP 2021
  • The effectiveness of cocoa agroforests depends on shade-tree canopy height
    Blaser-Hart, W. J.; Hart, S. P.; Oppong, J.; Kyereh, D.; Yeboah, E.; Six, Johan
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment  10.1016/j.agee.2021.107676  DEC 1 2021
  • Rainfall seasonality and timing: implications for cereal crop production in Ethiopia
    Wakjira, Mosisa Tujuba; Peleg, Nadav; Anghileri, Daniela; Molnar, Darcy; Alamirew, Tena; Six, Johan
    Agricultural And Forest Meteorology 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108633  NOV 15 2021
  • A food tax only minimally reduces the N surplus of Swiss agriculture
    Schmidt, Alena; Necpalova, Magdalena; Mack, Gabriele; Mohring, Anke; Six, Johan
    Agricultural Systems 10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103271  DEC 2021
  • Organic matter cycling along geochemical, geomorphic, and disturbance gradients in forest and cropland of the African Tropics - project TropSOC database version 1.0
    Doetterl, Sebastian; Asifiwe, Rodrigue K.; Baert, Geert; Bamba, Fernando; Bauters, Marijn; et al.
    Earth System Science Data 10.5194/essd-13-4133-2021  AUG 25 2021
  • Agricultural intensification can no longer ignore water conservation – A systemic modelling approach to the case of tomato producers in Morocco
    Benabderrazik, K.; Kopainsky, B.; Tazi, L.; Joerin, J.; Six, J.
    Agricultural Water Management 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107082  OCT 1 2021
  • Developing the Swiss mid-infrared soil spectral library for local estimation and monitoring
    Baumann, Philipp; Helfenstein, Anatol; Gubler, Andreas; Keller, Armin; Meuli, Reto Giulio; Wachter, Daniel; Lee, Juhwan; Rossel, Raphael Viscarra; Six, Johan)
    Soil 10.5194/soil-7-525-2021 AUG 18 2021
  • The agronomic and economic viability of innovative cropping systems to reduce Fusarium head blight and related mycotoxins in wheat
    Drakopoulos, Dimitrios; Kaegi, Andreas; Six, Johan; Zorn, Alexander; Wettstein, Felix E.; et al.
    Agricultural Systems 10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103198  AUG 2021
  • Organic and conservation agriculture promote ecosystem multifunctionality
    Wittwer, RA; Bender, SF; Hartman, K; Hydbom, S; Lima, RAA; Loaiza, V; Nemecek, T; Oehl, F; Olsson, PA; Petchey, O; Prechsl, UE; Schlaeppi, K; Scholten, T; Seitz, S; Six, J; van der Heijden, MGA
    Science Advances 10.1126/sciadv.abg6995  AUG 2021
  • The role of geochemistry in organic carbon stabilization against microbial decomposition in tropical rainforest soils
    Reichenbach, Mario; Fiener, Peter; Garland, Gina; Griepentrog, Marco; Six, Johan; Doetterl, Sebastian
    Soil 10.5194/soil-7-453-2021 AUG 2 2021
  • Agronomic gain: Definition, approach, and application
    Saito, Kazuki; Six, Johan; Komatsu, Shota; Snapp, Sieglinde; Rosenstock, Todd; et al.
    Field Crops Research 10.1016/j.fcr.2021.108193 AUG 1 2021
  • Quantifying soil carbon in temperate peatlands using a mid-IR soil spectral library
    Helfenstein, Anatol; Baumann, Philipp; Rossel, Raphael Viscarra; Gubler, Andreas; Oechslin, Stefan; Six Johan
    Soil 10.5194/soil-7-193-2021 JUN 14 2021
  • Impacts of residue quality and soil texture on soil aggregation pathways by using rare earth oxides as tracers
    Liu, S.; Guo, Z. C.; Halder, M.; Zhang, H. X.; Six, J.; et al.
    Geoderma 10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115114  OCT 1 2021
  • Trees enhance abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, soil structure, and nutrient retention in low-input maize cropping systems
    Dierks, Janina; Blaser-Hart, Wilma J.; Gamper, Hannes A.; Nyoka, Isaac Betserai; Barrios, Edmundo; Six Johan
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107487  SEP 15 2021
  • Global patterns of geo-ecological controls on the response of soil respiration to warming
    Haaf, David; Six, Johan; Doetterl, Sebastian
    Nature Climate Change 10.1038/s41558-021-01068-9 JUL 2021
  • Positive Effects of Crop Diversity on Productivity Driven by Changes in Soil Microbial Composition
    Stefan, Laura; Hartmann, Martin; Engbersen, Nadine; Six, Johan; Schoeb, Christian
    Frontiers In Microbiology 10.3389/fmicb.2021.660749  APR 15 2021
  • The Pulse of the Amazon: Fluxes of Dissolved Organic Carbon, Nutrients, and Ions From the World's Largest River
    Drake, Travis W.; Hemingway, Jordon D.; Kurek, Martin R.; Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Bernhard; Brown, Kristina A.; et al.
    Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10.1029/2020GB006895  APR 2021
  • Stable isotope signatures of soil nitrogen on an environmental-geomorphic gradient within the Congo Basin
    Baumgartner, Simon; Bauters, Marijn; Barthel, Matti; Drake, Travis W.; Ntaboba, Landry C.; et al.
    Soil  10.5194/soil-7-83-2021 Published: MAR 30 2021
  • Global carbon dioxide efflux from rivers enhanced by high nocturnal emissions
    Gomez-Gener, Lluis; Rocher-Ros, Gerard; Battin, Tom; Cohen, Matthew J.; Dalmagro, Higo J.; et al.
    Nature Geoscience 10.1038/s41561-021-00722-3  Early Access: APR 2021
Johan Six

Prof. Dr. Johan Six
ETH Zurich
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 84 83

  • Soil microbiology
  • Economic and social aspects of sustainable agriculture
  • Plant-soil interactions
  • Nutrient use efficiency