Until the mid-1990s of the last century, agroecology was understood as the science of applying concepts derived from ecological research to the design and management of agroecosystems. At the beginning of the new millennium, this definition was expanded to include considerations of the entire food system. Thus a scientific definition emerged that went beyond pure natural science and became interdisciplinary. Questions of knowledge integration, education, smallholder agriculture and food sovereignty and circular economy were also emphasized more strongly. In agroecology, we consider the entire food system, including the economic framework, human-nature relations and ongoing discourses.


We cannot solve today’s multiple, converging and accelerating crises with uni-dimensional, linear, reductionist or mechanistic responses. We need, rather, to embrace a food systems approach with solutions that have multiple, converging and positively reinforcing outcomes that bring beneficial synergistic effects across multiple domains. Transformative agroecology, for example, is not only productive, resilient, adaptable and profitable, but also focuses on agency, democracy, equity, rights and ecological renewal.

Agroecology, Landscapes and the Anthropocene


From the 3rd to the 5th of November the Weingarten Latin America Talks took place in Weingarten, South Germany. This interdisciplinary conference deals with current developments and issues in Latin America, from social (in)equality, decolonization, peace making, gender and climate justice to macro economic issues. The presentation and discussion of current theses and PhD`s by researchers from Latin America and Germany took place on the 2nd of November Dr’in Cornelia Steinhäuser was invited as a commentator on ongoing doctoral theses and as an expert in agroecology. Her lecture entitled “Agroecología, paisajes y el Antropoceno” addressed questions of community building in agroecological, biodiverse landscapes against background of the conceptual framework of the Anthropocene.

The conference took place as part of the knowledge laboratory “The Anthropocene as a Multiple Crisis” of the Center for InterAmerican Studies (CALAS).


Convergence Steyerberg
© C. Steinhäuser

Ecological Farming Convergence 19th to 22nd of October 2023

In the Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological-Planning Working Group we deal with the special features and similarities of alternative forms of agriculture. For this purpose, we have set up our own research line in our working group, agroecology. In this context, we are taking part in a four-day meeting in Steyerberg where organic farming and permaculture come together in an exciting format. The conference aims to be a meeting place for practitioners with extraordinary ideas and solutions. The “open space” conference format develops its own dynamics, networking and inspiration.
Our (research) task will be to see which people come together, what content is interesting for these practitioners, what solutions are discussed and how people interact with each other. Such knowledge exchange between practitioners and researchers is essential in the agroecology movement. The aim is to keep an eye on the many dimensions of a sustainable agar nutrition system. We want to bring this perspective of agroecology to the conference and see how it can be creatively combined with organic farming and permaculture approaches. Findings from participation in the conference will be taken up again in the agroecology seminar.
Cornelia Steinhäuser and Tillmann Buttschardt offered workshops and discussed the topics “Invasive plants in agroforestry” and “Agroecology as an ecological movement”. Four students from the Agroecology seminar examined the Steyerberg Lebensgarten using the Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE) and actively participated in the diverse discussions.

Dr. Cornelia Steinhäuser heads the agroecology research line and holds the seminar of the same name.

GfÖ Conference 2023: Session Agroecology

The Research Group Applied Landscape Ecology and Ecological Planning hosted at GfÖ-Conference together with the Thünen Institue a session with focus on Agroecology.
The title was: Agroecology - towards a transformation of farming and food systems in Europe and took place on Wed. 13.09.2023 at Audimax at Leipzig University.
There were talks and topics as follows in the session:
Nicolas Tinois: AGROECOLOGY - European Partnership on accelerating farming systems transition: Agroecology living labs and research infrastructures
Heather McKhann: Thinking the future European network of Living Labs and Research Infrastructures for accelerating agroecology transition
Natalia Rastorgueva: Living labs as entry points for agroecological transition: testing of the theoretical framework in local, regional and national living labs
Sandrine Petit: Agroecology in action: engaging with stakeholders to move towards pesticide-free landscapes
Emily Poppenborg Martin: The KoMBi network: Exploring collective models for enhancement of biodiversity in farmed landscapes
Viviana Alarcon-Segura: BEATLE project: Inter and transdisciplinary assessment of agricultural policy transformation pathways towards a biodiversity-friendly food system

New publication


The report on the scientific perspective on the project "Ecosystem Künstlerdorf - Learning from Nature" has been published. It describes the challenges, opportunities and potentials of a socio-ecological transformation process of an art institution. And it explores for this case study, how permaculture, gardening and 'learning from nature' were used as inspiration with the aim to build a just and sustainable community.

Steinhäuser, Cornelia (2022). Begegnungen mit Mensch und Natur im Künstlerdorf Schöppingen: Socializing with people and nature at the Künstlerdorf. In Julia Haarman (Ed.), Ecosystem Künstlerdorf (pp. 21–41). Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen.

Agroecology in the Official UNFCCC side event at COP27 on November 11, 2022

November 4, 2022

Tillmann Buttschardt and Cornelia Steinhäuser, together with IFPRI, are offering a side event. We explore the question to what extent gender-responsive approaches can lead to more resilience in the face of current crises. We have invited two experts in agroecology: William Moseley and Rachel Bezner-Kerr. The side event will be livestreamed.

© Cornelia Steinhäuser

Field day on Regenerative Agriculture

May 11, 2022

As part of the Agroecology seminar, we visited two farms that practice Regenerative Agriculture. Together with the farm managers we observed and discussed from an agronomic and landscape ecological point of view how the so-called five principles of Regenerative Agriculture are (can be) implemented for more humus build-up and soil health, namely: keep soil covered; minimum soil disturbance, maximize diversity, maintain living root and  holistic management.

Observing agronimic practices of Regenerative Agriculture
© Cornelia Steinhäuser


Visit to the composting plant of the Waste Management Company Münster (AWM)

April 28, 2022

As part of the planning of the Münster Compost Festival, we participated in a tour of the composting plant and other facilities.

Compost in your hands
© Hannah Stalljann-Brakhane


The IGU Commission Excellence Award winner for 2021 is the IGU Commission on Rural Sustainability, where Cornelia Steinhäuser is member of the Steering Committee.

Field day on Regenerative Agriculture

March 7, 2022

We visited two farms that aim to protect the soil through their regenerative practices and to farm in a natural and energy-efficient way.

Observing and discussing soil properties
© Cornelia Steinhäuser
  • Projects

    Ecosystem Künstlerdorf - Learning from Nature

    Understanding and valorising rural landscapes


  • PhD theses


    successfully completed:


  • Publications

    • Steinhäuser, Cornelia (2022). Begegnungen mit Mensch und Natur im Künstlerdorf Schöppingen: Socializing with people and nature at the Künstlerdorf. In Julia Haarman (Ed.), Ecosystem Künstlerdorf (pp. 21–41). Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen.

    • de la Vega-Leinert, A. Cristina, Kieslinger, Julia, Jiménez-Moreno, Marcela & Steinhäuser, Cornelia (2021). Young People’s Visions for Life in the Countryside in Latin America. Geographical Review, 1–25.
    • Steinhäuser, C., T. Gumbert (2020): Lokale Partizipation als normativer Treiber der Agrarwende: Ernährungsräte und Partizipative Garantiesysteme. In: Bohn, C., Fuchs, D., Gumbert, T., Hasenkamp, V., Heimbach-Steins, M., Kuhn, L., Salaske, S., Sarpong, L., Schrüfer, G., Schwarze, S., Siepker, L., & Steinhäuser, C. (Hrsg.)(2020): Partizipation als zentrales Thema interdisziplinärer Nachhaltigkeitsforschung. ZIN Diskussionspapiere, (01): 42-55.
    • Steinhäuser, Cornelia (2019): Peasant farmers’ intangible values foster agroecological landscapes: case studies from Sierra Santa Victoria in northwest Argentina and the Ladin Dolomites, northern Italy, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2019.1624285
    • Steinhäuser, Cornelia & Buttschardt, Tillmann K. (2019): Kulturelle Bezüge zu außerordentlichen und alltäglichen Landschaften. Zum Verständnis der Konzepte von KULTURLANDSCHAFT seitens deutscher und argentinischer Landbewirtschafter/innen. Diskurse – digital, Bd. 1 Nr. 3 (2019): Aktuelle Tendenzen der interdisziplinären Diskursforschung ISSN 2627-9304, Link
    • Steinhäuser, Cornelia & Buttschardt Tillmann K. (2019): Argentiniens ungleiche Diskurse zwischen nachhaltiger Entwicklung und buen vivir in der Enzyklika Laudato si‘. In: Marianne Heimbach-Steins und Sabine Schlacke (Hg.): Die Enzyklika Laudato si'. Ein interdisziplinärer Nachhaltigkeitsansatz? Baden-Baden: Nomos, 161–199
    • Steinhäuser, Cornelia & Buttschardt, Tillmann K. (2018): Vinculaciones materiales e inmateriales en el paisaje de una comunidad indígena en el noroeste de Argentina, in: Valerià Paül Carril, Rubén C. Lois González, Juan M. Trillo Santamaría, Fiona Haslam McKenzie (eds.): Infinite Rural Systems in a Finite Planet: Bridging Gaps towards Sustainability. Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 342–349
    • Buttschardt, T.K., C. Steinhäuser (2015): Impulse der Enzyklika zum Umgang mit dem Boden. In: Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung (ZIN)(Hrsg): „Ganzheitliche Ökologie“ Diskussionsbeiträge zur Enzyklika Laudato si‘ von Papst Franziskus. ZIN Diskussionspapiere 1/2015: 40-48. Münster.  ISSN 2364-9895 Open Access Publikation
    • Wanner, M., J. Hamacher, E. Gerlach, T. Buttschardt, J. Rose, S. Simon, C. Niekamp, L. Hebling, N. Saul (2013): Peak Oil. Die Herausforderung lokaler Erdölabhängigkeit am Beispiel Münster. Wissenschaftliche Schriften der WWU Münster, Reihe XVII, Band 1
    • J.A. Schmidt & T.K. Buttschardt (2011): Addressing the information needs of small-scale rooibos farmers in rural South Africa can help to combat desertification and improve livelihoods. Zbl. Geol. Paläont. Teil I, 2009, 1/2, 39-52
    • Oberkircher, L. , Hornridge, A.-K. (2011): 'Water is Life'-Farmer Rationales and Water-Saving in Khorezm, Uzbekistan: A Lifeworld Analysis Rural Sociology 76 (3): 394-421. DOI: 10.1111/j.1549-0831.2011.00054.x
    • Oberkircher, L. , Shanafield, M. , Ismailova, B. , Saito, L. (2011): Ecosystem and Social Construction: an Interdisciplinary Case Study of the Shurkul Lake Landscape in Khorezm, Uzbekistan. Ecology and Society 16 (4) : 20
    • Oberkircher, L. (2010): Water Scarcity and the Lifeworld: The Challenge of Perceiving Creeping Disasters. Forum Geoökol. 21(2): 26-29.
    • Oberkircher, L., B. Tischbein, A.-K. Hornidge, G. Schorcht, A. Bhaduri, U. K. Awan, A. M. Manschadi  (2010): Rethinking Water Management in Khorezm, Uzbekistan - Concepts and Recommendations ZEF Working Paper Series No 54. Center for Development Research. Bonn


  • Conferences

    • AC de la Vega-Leinert, C. Steinhäuser, J. Kieslinger & M. Jímenez Moreno (2019): Zukunftsvisionen Jugendlicher über das Leben auf dem Land - Perspektiven aus vier Fallstudien in Lateinamerika. Deutscher Kongress für Geographie, 25. -30. September 2019, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.
    • Steinhäuser, C. (2019): Estrategias de desarrollo rural de jóvenes agricultores en comunidades rurales de la Sierra Santa Victoria (Argentina), y Alta Badia (Italia)”, Session: „Old and new futures’ visions for rural youths in Latin America“, Conference “Visions of future(s) in the Americas” 12-14 June 2019, Universität Bonn
    • „Agroökologie als sozial-ökologischer Kontext von Landschaften", zusammen mit Tillmann K. Buttschardt bei der IALE-D Tagung 2018 „Landschaften im Wandel. Verstehen, planen und realisieren”, Leibnitz Universität Hannover, 5.-7. September 2018
    • „Vinculaciones materiales e inmateriales en el paisaje de una comunidad indígena en el noroeste de Argentina.” 26th Colloquium of the IGU Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems. “Infinite Rural Systems in a Finite Planet: Bridging Gaps towards Sustainability”, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 16th-21nd July 2018
    • „Agroökologie – Agroecología. Polarisierte Nachhaltigkeitsdiskurse des Globalen Nordens und Südens“, zusammen mit Tillmann K. Buttschardt bei dem 3. ZIN Brotzeitkolloquium an der WWU Münster, 19. April 2018
    • Steinhäuser, C. (2017): La agrobiodiversidad, el uso comunitario de recursos, y el desarrollo cultural de un paisaje. Estudio de caso en Nazareno, Salta. Jornada interdisciplinaria Saberes locales y uso sostenible de la tierra en la agricultura familiar, coordinada por el Instituto de Ecología del Paisaje, Universität Münster, y la Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias Universidad Nacional de Jujuy (UNJu), en cooperación con el Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo para la Pequeña Agricultura Familiar (IPAF-NOA), Hornillos, Jujuy, ARGENTINA. 28 de marzo de 2017 Abstract
    • Steinhäuser, C. (2016): "Erhaltenswürdige Werte für ein 'gutes Leben' Woran eine ländliche Gemeinde in den nordargentinischen Anden festhält". Jahrestagung 2016 des AK Ländlicher Raum der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie (DGfG) "Transformationen ländlicher Räume im Globalen Norden und Süden: Repräsentationen, Funktionen und Entwicklungspfade". 21. bis 22. Oktober 2016, Institut für Geographie der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Abstract
    • Steinhäuser C. (2016): “Cultural services of agroecosystems. Experiences in a rural village of the Argentinean Andes.” 24th Colloquium of the IGU Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems. ‘Sustainability of Rural Systems: Balancing Heritage and Innovation.’ 17th-22nd July 2016, Liège, Belgium Abstract
    • Steinhäuser, C. (2016): "Narrationen und Landschaftsbilder: Qualitative Analyse von Walking Interviews mit begleitenden Fotos. Erstes Nachwuchssymposium des Tagungsnetzwerkes ,DISKURS INTERDISZIPLINÄR 5. und 6. Mai 2016 am Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim Abstract
    • Steinhäuser, C. (2016): "Percepción y puesta en valor de paisajes rurales desde una perspectiva intercultural. Taller de tesis interdisciplinario para doctoranda/os. Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales - Universidad Nacional de Jujuy, Argentina, 11 13 de abril de 2016. Abstract


  • Graduation theses

    please use this link