Figure 1: Using the landscape as a laboratory: Sampling the phenology of wheat fields along the climate transect of Switzerland


Several threats connected to climate change are decreasing the productivity of currently established crops. While we have a conceptual understanding of the interaction of climate and growing patterns, we are in most cases unable to provide quantitative estimates of how environmental parameters impact the magnitude of phenological shifts within the landscape. Currently, phenological observations are restricted to observations of individual plants at discrete locations or using satellites that cover large regions but have limited capability to observe small individual fields in fragmented landscapes, such as those in Switzerland.


The PhenomEn project uses the “landscape as a laboratory” and develops an approach that uses remote sensing technologies and geo-information science embedded in the Agroecosystem Earth Observation Platform to bridge the gap between ecology and agricultural research. Thereby, it will improve our understanding of plant-​environment interaction under “real world conditions” in the context of agriculture. By building a geospatial phenological database we will examine how combinations of environmental factors can mitigate or amplify climatic threats.
The project will be supported by the activities of the COST action “Optical synergies for spatiotemporal SENsing of Scalable ECOphysiological traits” (SENSECO; CA17134) that aims to close spatial and temporal gaps in ecosystem monitoring by improving spatial scaling approaches and time-​series processing.

EOA project team

Lukas and Helge


Crop Science Group of ETH Zürich


Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)