Rooted firmly in the principles of econology, the agricultural enterprise, even though having been exposed to the impact of environmental problems arising from land degradation, soil erosion, groundwater depletion and pollution and loss of biological diversity, has so far stood firm and survived to meet the food requirements of the growing population, so much so that there have been some striking instances of food glut in several countires, including some that used to sufer famiens only half a century ago.
The increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in crop production has adversely affected both the environment and the agricultural economy. Not only has it led to environmental pollution, but also the increasing costs of chemical inputs and the low prices received for agricultural products have contributed to economic unprofitability and instability. The International Symposium on Agricultural Ecology and Environment was organised in order to discuss ways of achieving the goals of economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture. It is apparent that a truly multidisciplinary effort is required and for this reason the meeting was attended by authors from many different disciplines and geographical locations. Although their papers reflect a wide diversity of agroecosystem types and examples, several common themes emerge: the increased importance of biotic control of ecosystem processes in lower input systems; the key role of soil organic matter in stabilizing nutrient cycling; the importance of agricultural landscape diversity and complexity; the importance of studying ecological processes in natural and agricultural ecosystems; the critical need to integrate socio-economic and ecological approaches.
This book analyses the nature of the relationships between crops, livestock and the bio-physical environment, and the extent to which man has managed and modified the products and environment to suit his/her own particular needs.
Explores how ecological knowledge, applied as part of a multidisciplinary effort, can be used to design an environmentally sound agriculture. This examination provides those interested in agriculture with an introduction to related work in other fields including ecology and economics.
Providing the theoretical and conceptual framework for this continually evolving field, Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Second Edition explores environmental factors and complexities affecting agricultural crops and animals. Completely revised, updated, and reworked, the second edition contains new data, new readings, new issues and case studies, and new options. It includes two completely new chapters, one on the role of livestock animals in agroecosystems and one on the cultural and community aspects of sustainable food systems. The author clearly delineates the importance of using an ecosystem framework for determining if a particular agricultural practice, input, or management decision contributes or detracts from sustainability. He explains how the framework provides the ecological basis for the functioning of the chosen management strategy over the long-term. He also examines system level interactions, stressing the need for understanding the emergent qualities of populations, communities, and ecosystems and their roles in sustainable agriculture. Using examples of farming systems in a broad array of ecological conditions, the book demonstrates how to use an ecosystem approach to design and manage agroecosystems for sustainability.