Agricultural Systems - Agroecology: Principles and Practice

Elsevier, Agricultural Systems (Second Edition), Agroecology and Rural Innovation for Development, 2017, Pages 33-72
Sieglinde Snapp

Ecological principles provide a foundation for resilient and sustainable agriculture that supports rural livelihoods. Climate and soil resources are key drivers of opportunities that smallholders can exploit, and the dynamic nature of agroecological response is discussed in this chapter. The concepts of organism niche and functional groups are presented as a means to group plant and soil biota types, and to combine organisms for high performing assemblages. Design principles explored here include complementarity, redundancy, and mosaics. Agricultural systems that are biologically consistent with these principles are presented, including indigenous and novel technologies. Constraints and opportunities associated with humid and arid environments are discussed as examples of agroecological principles and practice.