Agricultural Expert Panel, KLU

a very huge field without plants, trees and bushesClick to enlarge
Agriculture has to become "greener" to protect soil, water and biodiversity
Source: Martina Chirnielewski /

The Agricultural Expert Panel (KLU) at the German Environment Agency (UBA) was given a new direction and restaffed in October 2016. The now 15-member team of independent scientific experts had been advising UBA since 2010 on agricultural issues relevant to the environment. Its future priority focus area is to point out prospects for the agricultural sector.

Agricultural Expert Panel at the German Environment Agency

Roughly half of Germany’s surface area is used for agricultural purposes, i.e. for the cultivation of food crops, as well as to produce renewable resources for energy purposes and non-energetic use. Agriculture has also made it possible for our landscape to develop and become diverse both in terms of species and structure. Yet these positive effects are only one side of the coin. Intensive agriculture, which provides us with plentiful cheap food, is the root of a gamut of negative impacts on the environment: loss of biodiversity, groundwater contamination, the degradation of soil, the deterioration of air quality, and climate change.

The purpose of the KLU is to harmonise agricultural production with environmental protection. The need for action is urgent, not only because agriculture is a key reason that a number of environmental targets cannot be reached but also because farmers themselves are in a precarious position that is unsustainable in both economic and social terms: they are caught up in a dilemma of price erosion and expansion of production which threatens their very existence and leaves little room for consideration of environmental aspects.

Specifically, the KLU's tasks are to determine

  • what the long-term prospects for development for agriculture in Germany are,
  • how these prospects will help to achieve the global sustainability goals, and
  • how agricultural policy conditions must be changed to create a sustainable prospect for agricultural development.

The expert group will focus both on how to achieve these goals as well as their actual achievement.


 The KLU is a group of 15 experts on agriculture and the environment:

• Chairman: Prof. Dr. Alois Heißenhuber, Agricultural economist and professor (ret.), Technical University of Munich
• Deputy Chairman: Prof. Dr. Hubert Wiggering, Professor, Institute for Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam
• Dipl.-Ing. Agr., Diplôme d‘Agronomie Générale, Ingrid Apel, Adviser for strategic communication and public relations, Berlin and Paris
 Dr. Martin Bach, Scientific researcher in the fields of agriculture, landscape and water ecosystems and the material cycle, Justus Liebig University Giessen
• Dr. Tanja Busse, Author and facilitator
• Dr. Annette Freibauer, Director, Institute for Organic Farming, Soil and Resource Management at the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture, Freising, Germany
• Prof. Dr. Kurt-Jürgen Hülsbergen, Chair, Organic Agriculture and Agronomy, Technical University of Munich
• Andreas Krug, Head of Division "Integrated Nature Conservation and Sustainable Use; Biosafety" Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN ) Bonn
• Heino von Meyer, Director, Berlin Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD )
• Dr. Stefan Möckel, Lawyer and Scientific Officer in Environmental and Planning Law, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig
• Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller, Chair of Resource and Environmental Economics, University of Bonn
• Prof. Dr. Dr. Urs Niggli, Director, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FibL), Frick, Switzerland
• Dipl.-Geol. Ulrich Peterwitz, Head of Division "Water Management", Gelsenwasser AG utilities company, Gelsenkirchen
• Lutz Ribbe, Conservation policy director at the EuroNatur Foundation, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Union,
• Prof. Dr. Christoph Winckler, Division of Livestock Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Administrative office


The KLU’s administrative office is established within Section II 2.9 "Rural Development, Agriculture and International Soil Protection" of the German Environment Agency. Its staff includes:

Knut Ehlers, Ph.D.
Agronomist with experience in soil and agricultural consultancy and communications. Earned his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich. Research stays in Sweden, Norway, Kenya and Burkina Faso. Dr. Ehlers is Head of Section "Rural Development, Agriculture and International Soil Protection".

Anne Biewald, Ph.D.
Agricultural economist, scientific staff in section II 2.9. Working experience as researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Specialization in the Modelling of global land use and virtual water trade.

Diana Sorg, Ph.D.
Agricultural Scientist with PhD in Animal Science; staff member in Section II2.9. Prior experience includes academic research and teaching in animal physiology, animal genetics and methane emissions from cattle at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Technical University of Munich.

Antje Schiller
Certified multilanguage and Europe Secretary and member of UBA staff; experience in waste and sewage management, soil protection and waterbody resource management.