Biodiversity conservation and agricultural sustainability: Towards a new paradigm of 'ecoagriculture' landscapes

Ecoagriculture Partners, Washington, DC 20001, USA.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 7.06). 03/2008; 363(1491):477-94. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2165
Source: PubMed


The dominant late twentieth century model of land use segregated agricultural production from areas managed for biodiversity conservation. This module is no longer adequate in much of the world. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment confirmed that agriculture has dramatically increased its ecological footprint. Rural communities depend on key components of biodiversity and ecosystem services that are found in non-domestic habitats. Fortunately, agricultural landscapes can be designed and managed to host wild biodiversity of many types, with neutral or even positive effects on agricultural production and livelihoods. Innovative practitioners, scientists and indigenous land managers are adapting, designing and managing diverse types of 'ecoagriculture' landscapes to generate positive co-benefits for production, biodiversity and local people. We assess the potentials and limitations for successful conservation of biodiversity in productive agricultural landscapes, the feasibility of making such approaches financially viable, and the organizational, governance and policy frameworks needed to enable ecoagriculture planning and implementation at a globally significant scale. We conclude that effectively conserving wild biodiversity in agricultural landscapes will require increased research, policy coordination and strategic support to agricultural communities and conservationists.

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Available from: Jeffrey Mcneely, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "However, soil organisms can improve the resistance and resilience of soil against disturbance, for instance by enhancing soil structure (Brussaard et al. 2007). It has therefore been suggested that agricultural practices that stimulate soil biodiversity, such as increased crop diversity, reduced tillage and continuous soil cover, could help mitigate the effects of climate change (de Vries et al. 2012; Scherr and McNeely 2008). Among the enormous variety of life forms in soil, anecic earthworms may be particularly important in ameliorating the effects on soil and plants of intense rains. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims Intense rains are becoming more frequent. By causing waterlogging, they may increase soil erosion and soil surface compaction, hamper seedling establishment, and reduce plant growth. Since anecic earthworms make vertical burrows that improve water infiltration, we hypothesised that they can counteract such disturbance. Methods In a field experiment, intact soil mesocosms with ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), with or without introduced adult Lumbricus terrestris, underwent either a precipitation regime with two intense rain events (36 mm, at beginning and end of spring), or a control regime with the same cumulative rainfall but no intense events. Short-term response of soil moisture and lagged response of plant growth were measured, and soil macroporosity was quantified. Results Intense rains reduced ryegrass shoot biomass (by 16–21 % on average) only in the absence of earthworms. Waterlogging duration aboveground was not affected, whereas soil moisture contents after intense rainfall tended to drop faster with earthworms present. Continuous vertical macropores were found only in the mesocosms to which earthworms had been added. The number of such macropores was 2.4 times higher under the intense precipitation regime, despite similar earthworm survival. Conclusions We found that anecic earthworms can offset negative effects of intense rainfall on plant growth aboveground. Underlying mechanisms, such as macropore formation and enhanced nutrient cycling, are discussed. We also observed that altered precipitation patterns can modify earthworm burrowing behaviour, as earthworms had produced more burrows under the intense regime.
    Plant and Soil 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11104-015-2604-4 · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    • "Therefore, restoring on farm biodiversity through diversified farming systems that mimic nature is considered to be a key strategy for sustainable agriculture [6]. On farm biodiversity, if correctly practiced in time and space, can lead to agro ecosystems capable of maintaining their own soil fertility, regulating natural protection against pests and sustaining productivity [12]. Biodiversity in agro ecosystems can be enhanced in time through crop rotations and sequences in space through cover crops, intercropping and agro forestry [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The experiment was conducted at Metahara Sugar Estate from February 2012 – June 2013 to determine the economic fertilizer rate for sugarcane haricot bean intercropping. The test varieties were NCO-334 and Awash Melka for sugarcane and haricot bean, respectively. There were nine treatment combinations, five intercropped treatments received different types and rates of fertilizers (T1=0 kg N and 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 , T2=92 kg N and 46 kg P2O5 ha-1 , T3=92 kg N and 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 , T4=18 kg N and 46 kg P2O5 ha-1 , and T5=110 kg N and 46 kg P2O5 ha-1), two sole haricot bean treatments (T6=0 kg N and 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 and T7=18 kg N and 46 kg P2O5 ha-) and two sole sugarcane treatments (T8=0 kg N and 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 and T9=92 kg N and 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 recommended rate). The experiment was laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications. The result showed that there were highly significant (P<0.01) difference on tiller and millable stalk population. The highest tiller count (135.33 x 10 3 ha-1) and millable stalk population (123.66x10 3 ha-1) were recorded from T9. There was no significant difference on cane yield and sucrose percentage. However, there was significant (P<0.05) difference on sugar yield. The highest sugar yield (27.62 t ha-1) was recorded from T9. There was highly significant (P<0.01) difference between treatments on haricot bean yield. The highest haricot bean yield (5.37 qt ha-1) was recorded from T1. Highly significant (P<0.01) difference was observed on land equivalent ratio of sugarcane-haricot bean intercropping. The land equivalent ratio of intercropped treatments ranged from 1.75 – 2.63. However, the intercropped treatments were not economically visible than the standard treatment T9. The net benefit cost ratio ranged from 0.50 – 0.86. Relatively the highest net benefit cost ratio (0.86) was recorded from T3. Therefore, from the result it can be concluded that sugarcane haricot bean intercropping was not economical.
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    • "Although agriculture can contribute to ecosystem services, it can also be a source of disservices, including loss of biodiversity and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and pollutants [3]. However, agricultural management can be designed to host wild biodiversity of many types [4]-[6], and to reduce GHG emissions [7]-[9]. Stork-friendly farming (hereinafter referred to as SF farming), which has been practiced in Toyooka City in the prefecture of Hyogo in Japan, is a biodiversity-conscious farming method. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although agriculture can contribute to ecosystem services, it can also be a source of disservices, including loss of biodiversity and emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants. In this study, we evaluate the biodiversity-conscious farming method in terms of the impact on global warming by using the life cycle assessment (LCA) taking stork-friendly farming in Japan as a case of farming method. The results show that efforts for biodiversity conservation and countermeasures against global warming may be in a trade-off relationship. The results suggest that expansion of the farming scale and switch from low-agrichemical to agrichemical-free farming may be two possible paths towards a lower carbon dioxide emission than the current level.
    Low Carbon Economy 02/2015; 6(1):7-12. DOI:10.4236/lce.2015.61002
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