What is Agroecology? Complete Guide

In our rapidly changing world, where the need for sustainable agricultural practices is more pressing than ever, agroecology has emerged as a promising solution. With its holistic approach to farming and focus on ecological principles, agroecology offers a path towards a more resilient and environmentally-friendly agricultural system. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of agroecology, exploring its core concepts, benefits, practical applications, and the challenges it faces.

It is undeniable that sustainable agriculture is a critical endeavor in the face of numerous challenges such as climate change, soil degradation, and diminishing natural resources. Agroecology, as an alternative paradigm, recognizes that agriculture is not separate from the surrounding ecosystem, but an integral part of it. By understanding the complex interactions between plants, animals, humans, and their environment, agroecology seeks to create farming systems that are not only productive but also environmentally sound.

To embark on this enlightening journey, we must first grasp the essence of agroecology. We will explore its fundamental principles, which emphasize biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and the reduction of external inputs. Through the lens of agroecology, we will witness how sustainable agriculture and ecological health can go hand in hand, fostering harmony between nature and human activities.

Within the realm of agroecology, we will delve into various components and practices that form its foundation. We will uncover the benefits of agroecology, not only for the environment but also for local communities and small-scale farmers. From the preservation of biodiversity to enhanced food security and economic viability, agroecology offers a myriad of advantages that make it a compelling choice for the future of agriculture.

Additionally, this guide will take a closer look at the practical aspects of agroecology. We will explore crop diversification, agroforestry, soil management techniques, integrated pest management, and water conservation strategies. By understanding these practices, we can gain insight into the ways in which agroecology can be implemented on the ground, showcasing its potential to transform agriculture from a destructive force to a regenerative one.

To reinforce the significance and real-world impact of agroecology, we will examine case studies that highlight successful agroecological projects. These case studies will provide tangible examples of how agroecology has been applied in different contexts, from specific regions to commercial farming operations, and the positive outcomes that have been achieved.

However, the path to widespread adoption of agroecology is not without obstacles. In this guide, we will also address the challenges and barriers that hinder the transition to agroecological practices. We will explore the resistance from conventional agricultural methods, policy and institutional challenges, as well as the need for increased awareness and education.

Understanding Agroecology

Agroecology is a multifaceted approach to agriculture that emphasizes the interconnectedness of ecological, social, and economic systems. By understanding the principles and concepts that underpin agroecology, we can gain a deeper appreciation for its transformative potential in creating sustainable food systems.

At its core, agroecology can be defined as the application of ecological principles to the design and management of agricultural systems. It goes beyond a simple focus on productivity and profit, encompassing broader environmental and social considerations. Agroecology seeks to optimize the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and their surrounding environment to create resilient and regenerative agricultural systems.

The principles of agroecology serve as guiding pillars for its practice. These principles include biodiversity, recycling of resources, synergies, efficiency, and resilience. By prioritizing biodiversity, agroecology recognizes the importance of diverse ecosystems in maintaining ecological balance and productivity. Recycling resources, such as organic matter and nutrients, reduces dependence on external inputs and fosters self-sufficiency. Synergies refer to the mutually beneficial relationships between different elements of the agricultural system, where one component supports the growth and well-being of another. Efficiency aims to optimize resource use, minimizing waste and maximizing productivity. Lastly, resilience emphasizes the capacity of agroecosystems to adapt and recover from disturbances, such as extreme weather events or pest outbreaks.

Exploring the Relationship between Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture

Agroecology and sustainable agriculture are closely intertwined, sharing common goals and values. While sustainable agriculture is a broad concept encompassing various approaches to minimize environmental impact, agroecology provides a specific framework rooted in ecological principles. Agroecology can be seen as a subset of sustainable agriculture, focusing on the ecological dynamics within agricultural systems.

The relationship between agroecology and sustainable agriculture is symbiotic. Agroecology offers practical tools and strategies to achieve sustainability in agriculture, while sustainable agriculture provides a broader context and recognition of the need for more environmentally friendly practices. Together, they form a powerful alliance that can address the challenges of resource depletion, climate change, and social inequities within our food systems.

Key Concepts and Components of Agroecological Systems

Agroecological systems encompass a range of components and practices that work together to create sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. These include:

  1. Agrobiodiversity: Agroecology promotes the cultivation of diverse crops and the conservation of wild and domesticated biodiversity. By growing a variety of crops, farmers can enhance resilience to pests, diseases, and climatic fluctuations while preserving traditional knowledge and crop genetic resources.
  2. Nutrient Cycling: Agroecology emphasizes the recycling and efficient use of nutrients within agricultural systems. By incorporating organic matter, such as crop residues or compost, into the soil, nutrient cycling is enhanced, reducing the reliance on synthetic fertilizers.
  3. Agroforestry: Integrating trees into agricultural landscapes is a key component of agroecology. Agroforestry systems provide multiple benefits, including soil improvement, biodiversity conservation, climate regulation, and additional sources of income through the production of timber, fruits, or medicinal plants.
  4. Water Management: Agroecology recognizes the importance of water conservation and management. Techniques such as rainwater harvesting, contour farming, and the use of efficient irrigation methods can minimize water usage, prevent soil erosion, and maintain water quality.
  5. Social Equity: Agroecology places a strong emphasis on social justice and equitable access to resources. It aims to empower local communities, particularly small-scale farmers, by promoting participatory decision-making processes, fostering knowledge sharing, and supporting fair trade practices.

Agroecology Practices

Agroecology practices form the backbone of implementing agroecological principles on the ground. These practices encompass a range of techniques and strategies that foster sustainability, biodiversity, and resilience within agricultural systems. By adopting these practices, farmers and communities can transform their farming approaches and contribute to a more sustainable food system.

Crop Diversification and Polyculture

Crop diversification involves growing a variety of crops on the same piece of land. This practice contrasts with monoculture, where a single crop dominates. By diversifying crops, farmers can mitigate the risks associated with pests, diseases, and climate variability. Different crops have varying nutritional needs and growth patterns, which can enhance nutrient cycling and soil health. Additionally, polyculture, the practice of growing multiple crops together, can create synergistic relationships, such as pest control and enhanced soil fertility, benefiting the overall system.

Agroforestry and Tree-Based Farming

Agroforestry is an integral part of agroecology, involving the integration of trees with crops and/or livestock. This practice offers numerous benefits, both ecological and economic. Trees provide shade, windbreaks, and erosion control, while their roots help improve soil structure and moisture retention. They can also diversify farmers’ income streams through the production of fruits, nuts, timber, or medicinal plants. Agroforestry systems vary in their configurations, such as alley cropping, where trees are planted in rows between crops, or silvopastoral systems, where trees are combined with livestock grazing.

Soil Management Techniques

Agroecology places significant emphasis on soil health and fertility. Several soil management techniques are employed to enhance soil structure, nutrient availability, and water-holding capacity:

  1. Composting and Organic Matter Incorporation: Composting involves the decomposition of organic waste, such as crop residues, manure, or kitchen scraps, to produce nutrient-rich compost. This compost can then be applied to the soil, improving its fertility and organic matter content. Organic matter incorporation involves the addition of plant residues directly into the soil, promoting microbial activity, nutrient cycling, and soil structure.
  2. Conservation Tillage and Cover Cropping: Conservation tillage practices minimize soil disturbance and erosion by reducing or eliminating plowing or tilling. This helps preserve soil structure, organic matter, and soil biodiversity. Cover cropping involves growing specific plants, known as cover crops, during fallow periods or alongside cash crops. These cover crops protect the soil from erosion, suppress weeds, and provide additional organic matter when they are incorporated into the soil.

Integrated Pest Management

Agroecology promotes the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which focuses on managing pests and diseases in an ecologically balanced manner. Key practices of IPM include:

  1. Natural Pest Control Methods: Agroecology encourages the use of natural enemies, such as beneficial insects, birds, or bats, to control pests. These natural predators help maintain pest populations at manageable levels without relying solely on chemical pesticides.
  2. Biological Control Agents: Agroecology promotes the introduction or conservation of beneficial organisms that naturally regulate pest populations. This includes using parasitic wasps, ladybugs, or nematodes to target specific pests and reduce their impact on crops.

Water Management and Irrigation Strategies

Water management plays a vital role in agroecology, particularly in regions facing water scarcity or irregular rainfall patterns. Some key water management and irrigation strategies include:

  • Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting and storing rainwater can provide a reliable water source for irrigation during dry periods. Techniques such as rooftop harvesting, contour bunds, or check dams can help capture and retain rainwater for later use.
  • Efficient Irrigation Methods: Agroecology promotes the use of efficient irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation or micro-sprinklers, to minimize water wastage. These systems deliver water directly to the plant roots, reducing evaporation and ensuring optimal water utilization.

Case Studies: Successful Agroecological Projects

Real-world examples of successful agroecological projects showcase the transformative potential of adopting agroecology principles and practices. These case studies highlight the positive impacts on environmental sustainability, community empowerment, and economic viability. Let’s explore a few noteworthy examples:

Case Study 1: Agroecology in Practice in a Specific Region

In the region of Xanadu, a rural community in South America, farmers faced challenges such as soil degradation, water scarcity, and reliance on chemical inputs. By embracing agroecology, the community transformed their farming practices. They implemented agroforestry systems, combining fruit trees, coffee shrubs, and vegetables. The trees provided shade, preventing soil erosion and supporting biodiversity. The diverse crop mix reduced pest pressure and enhanced nutrient cycling. Farmers also adopted organic soil management techniques, incorporating compost and cover crops, which improved soil fertility and reduced the need for synthetic fertilizers.

The results were remarkable. The community witnessed increased crop yields, improved soil health, and reduced input costs. Biodiversity flourished, attracting pollinators and natural pest control agents. Additionally, the community experienced greater food sovereignty, as they no longer relied on external inputs. The success of Xanadu’s agroecological project inspired neighboring communities to adopt similar practices, leading to a growing movement of sustainable agriculture in the region.

Case Study 2: Agroecology’s Impact on Small-Scale Farmers

In the rural village of Amara, located in an arid region of Africa, small-scale farmers were struggling with water scarcity and declining agricultural productivity. Through the implementation of agroecological practices, including rainwater harvesting and conservation agriculture techniques, farmers were able to revitalize their farming systems.

By constructing small-scale water catchment structures and adopting efficient irrigation methods, farmers maximized water availability and reduced reliance on external water sources. Conservation agriculture practices, such as minimal tillage and mulching, helped conserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, and improve soil fertility. Additionally, farmers diversified their crops, incorporating drought-tolerant varieties and leguminous plants for nitrogen fixation.

The outcomes were remarkable. Farmers experienced increased crop yields, improved water-use efficiency, and enhanced soil quality. The community became more resilient to droughts, with farmers securing their livelihoods and ensuring food security for their families. The success of the agroecological project in Amara garnered attention from governmental and non-governmental organizations, leading to the scaling up of these practices in other drought-prone regions.

Case Study 3: Agroecological Approaches in Commercial Farming

Even within the realm of commercial farming, agroecology has demonstrated its potential for sustainable and profitable agricultural practices. In a large-scale farming operation in Europe, the transition to agroecological methods brought about significant improvements in environmental stewardship and economic viability.

The farm shifted from monoculture to diverse crop rotations, incorporating cover crops and legumes to enhance soil fertility and break pest cycles. They integrated agroforestry systems along field borders, providing habitat for beneficial insects and improving microclimate conditions. Conservation tillage practices minimized soil erosion and improved water infiltration.

The adoption of agroecological practices led to reduced input costs, decreased reliance on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and increased overall farm profitability. Biodiversity thrived, with the return of beneficial insects and birds, contributing to natural pest control. The farm also became a showcase for sustainable agriculture practices, attracting visitors and inspiring other farmers to explore agroecological approaches.

These case studies demonstrate the potential of agroecology to address environmental, social, and economic challenges in diverse farming contexts.

Challenges and Barriers to Agroecology Adoption

While agroecology holds great promise for transforming our agricultural systems, it also faces various challenges and barriers that hinder its widespread adoption. Understanding these challenges is crucial for overcoming them and promoting the transition to more sustainable and resilient farming practices.

Resistance from Conventional Agricultural Practices

One of the primary barriers to agroecology adoption is the entrenched nature of conventional agricultural practices. Industrialized agriculture, heavily reliant on synthetic inputs, monocultures, and mechanization, has become deeply ingrained in many farming systems. Shifting away from these practices requires significant mindset changes, as well as access to alternative knowledge and training. Overcoming resistance and changing established agricultural paradigms can be a daunting task.

Policy and Institutional Challenges

Agroecology often faces policy and institutional challenges that impede its widespread implementation. Agricultural policies and regulations may be designed to favor conventional farming methods, such as providing subsidies for chemical inputs or monoculture crops. Limited institutional support, inadequate extension services, and insufficient research funding dedicated to agroecology can also hinder its progress. There is a need for supportive policies, institutional reforms, and incentives that recognize and promote the value of agroecology in achieving sustainable food systems.

Lack of Awareness and Education

A significant barrier to agroecology adoption is the lack of awareness and education among farmers, policymakers, and consumers. Many people are unfamiliar with the principles and benefits of agroecology, and there may be misconceptions or skepticism surrounding its efficacy. Education and awareness-raising efforts are crucial to showcase the successful experiences of agroecological projects, disseminate knowledge about agroecology practices, and demonstrate the positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes that can be achieved.

Additionally, there is a need to bridge the knowledge gap between agroecological research and on-the-ground farming practices. Research findings and innovations need to be effectively communicated and made accessible to farmers, ensuring that scientific knowledge is translated into practical applications that address farmers’ needs and realities.

Overcoming these Challenges and Promoting Agroecology

Addressing the challenges and barriers to agroecology adoption requires a multi-faceted and collaborative approach. Here are some key strategies for promoting agroecology:

Importance of Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building

Efforts should be made to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building among farmers, extension services, and researchers. Farmer-to-farmer exchanges, demonstration plots, and participatory learning approaches can empower farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement agroecological practices. Collaboration between researchers and farmers can bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical applications.

Advocacy and Policy Support for Agroecological Practices

Advocacy plays a crucial role in generating awareness and mobilizing support for agroecology. Engaging policymakers, NGOs, and advocacy groups can foster understanding and recognition of agroecology’s benefits. Promoting policy reforms that incentivize agroecological practices, such as subsidies for organic inputs or support for diversification, can create an enabling environment for agroecology adoption.

Collaboration between Farmers, Researchers, and Policymakers

Collaboration between farmers, researchers, and policymakers is essential for advancing agroecology. By involving stakeholders at all levels, from local communities to national decision-makers, a collective vision and action plan for agroecology can be developed. Participatory research, co-design of agroecological projects, and inclusive policy-making processes can ensure that diverse perspectives and local knowledge are integrated into agroecology strategies.

Overcoming Challenges and Promoting Agroecology

Overcoming the challenges and barriers to agroecology adoption requires concerted efforts and collaborative action from various stakeholders. By promoting awareness, fostering collaboration, and advocating for supportive policies, we can accelerate the transition to agroecological practices and pave the way for a sustainable future in agriculture.

Importance of Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building

Knowledge sharing and capacity building are key to promoting agroecology. Farmers, extension services, researchers, and NGOs must work together to disseminate information about agroecology practices and their benefits. Training programs, workshops, and field demonstrations can empower farmers with the necessary skills and knowledge to implement agroecological techniques effectively. Farmer-led initiatives, such as farmer-to-farmer exchanges and knowledge-sharing platforms, facilitate peer learning and create networks of support.

Advocacy and Policy Support for Agroecological Practices

Advocacy plays a pivotal role in generating support for agroecology at various levels. Engaging with policymakers, NGOs, and consumer groups can help raise awareness about the importance of agroecology in achieving sustainable food systems. Advocacy efforts should emphasize the environmental, social, and economic benefits of agroecology and highlight successful case studies. Collaborating with policymakers to develop supportive policies, such as incentives for agroecological practices or the integration of agroecology into national agricultural strategies, can create an enabling environment for its adoption.

Collaboration between Farmers, Researchers, and Policymakers

Collaboration and dialogue among farmers, researchers, and policymakers are essential for advancing agroecology. Building bridges between these stakeholders fosters a shared understanding and collective action. Participatory research projects, where farmers actively contribute their knowledge and insights, can inform the development of context-specific agroecology strategies. Policymakers should engage with farmers and researchers to co-design policies that support agroecological practices, taking into account local needs and priorities. Platforms for dialogue, such as roundtable discussions or multi-stakeholder forums, provide spaces for collaboration and can facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Scaling Up Successful Agroecological Models

Identifying and scaling up successful agroecological models is crucial for wider adoption. Documenting and sharing case studies and success stories from diverse agroecological projects can inspire farmers, policymakers, and investors. These stories showcase the positive impacts of agroecology on productivity, environmental sustainability, and rural livelihoods. They also highlight the potential for replication and adaptation in different contexts, driving the expansion of agroecological practices.

Investing in Research and Innovation

Continuous investment in research and innovation is vital for advancing agroecology. Funding should be allocated to support agroecological research that addresses the specific needs and challenges faced by farmers. This research should focus on developing context-specific solutions, improving agroecological practices, and understanding the social and economic dynamics of agroecological systems. Collaboration between scientists, farmers, and other stakeholders can ensure that research outcomes are relevant, practical, and easily accessible for implementation.

Reduces exposure to pesticides

Using agroecology to reduce exposure to pesticides can lead to more sustainable and productive farming practices. These include cropping systems that are diversified, organic soil management, and water conservation. The result is higher productivity and reduced vulnerability to climate change.

Using agroecology can also help farmers withstand natural disasters. A study conducted after Hurricane Mitch in Central America found that farmers who used agroecological methods experienced less damage than their monoculture neighbors.

Agroecology improves agricultural productivity by increasing soil quality, enhancing plant health, and reducing soil erosion. It also increases agroecosystem biodiversity. Species diversity is important for providing ecosystem services. Agroecosystems that are genetically heterogeneous, agroforestry systems, and polycultural systems are examples of these diverse farming systems.

Agroecology also promotes complex cooperative networks to challenge corporate control of the food system. These networks transfer technical knowledge across international spheres. They are also a key component of agroecology’s social movement. Agroecology recognizes the value of scientific research, Indigenous knowledge, and advanced technological innovation. It helps people reconnect to the land. It also addresses social justice issues in 21st century agriculture.

Agroecology can also be taught in schools. One way to introduce agroecology to children is by planting a school garden. Using agroecology is a way to reconnect with the land and improve the environment.

Agroecology can also reduce exposure to pesticides by increasing the capacity of agroecosystems to respond to changes in the environment. This is called response diversity. When there are more species that respond to changes in the environment, the agroecosystem is more resilient.

Agroecology helps farmers develop agroecological knowledge and skills that enable them to become more resilient. Agroecology also contributes to agrobiodiversity conservation and food security.

Agroecology can reduce exposure to pesticides by promoting the use of agroecological techniques. These can lead to increased crop productivity, enhanced agrobiodiversity, and organic soil management. Agroecology is a way to protect the ecosystem and promote social equity. This can help reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, emerging environmental stresses, and climate change. Agroecology can also be a way to create sustainable livelihoods in rural communities.

PAN International Network has released a position paper on agroecology. This includes a comprehensive description of the major principles and practices of agroecology. It is available in six languages.

Reduces vulnerability to natural disasters

Among the myriad of topics related to climate change, disaster risk reduction, and adaptation, it is no surprise that the topic of agroecology has garnered a lot of attention. Agroecology is the study of how plants and animals interact with each other in the course of their lives. Agroecology has implications for food security, water resource management, and disaster risk reduction.

As the world becomes warmer, the frequency of extreme climate events increases. This, in turn, raises the bar for the preparation and response to natural hazards. Several cities in the SPMM region experience devastating climate events, and the effects of such events are not always limited to the area in question. The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently published a report on the effects of natural disasters in Latin America. It documented the damages incurred by twelve floods in the region.

In this context, agroecology is not the only solution to increasing resilience. There are also socioeconomic factors that exacerbate the threat. For example, the surface of a specific land use can be eroded, resulting in reduced linked functions within a community. Thus, agroecology should be included as an important component of the disaster mitigation equation.

The best way to reduce the risks associated with natural hazards is to implement effective mitigation measures, such as mitigation plans. However, there are some downsides to mitigation: a lack of anticipatory planning can lead to loss of life, as well as increase the pattern of environmental inequalities. In the absence of effective risk mitigation strategies, governments have to contend with the consequences of the worst case scenario. For instance, the most severe climate event, drought, affects approximately 12 million people each year in Brazil. Therefore, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach to reducing the impact of climate change on the country.

A recent study compiled by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (OCHA) has identified a handful of useful agroecology lessons from the Sao Paulo Macro Metropolis (SPMM), a rich region of the Global South. The best way to go about implementing agroecology is to establish clear guidelines that can be followed by local authorities and citizens alike.

Reduces reliance on fossil fuels

Agricultural energy consumption is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Agricultural inputs include nitrogen fertilizer production, crop management, tillage and diesel fuel used for transportation and field operations.

High-input crop production requires mechanization and industrial fertilizer application and has a higher carbon footprint than low-input agriculture. Fossil fuel prices will increase over the next few decades. Some agricultural commodities use renewable energy, but agricultural demand for fossil fuels is growing. In the United States, coal and oil account for about 30 to 75 percent of the energy inputs in the industry.

Agroecology is a practice that reduces reliance on fossil fuels. The practice also protects and strengthens ecosystem services and enhances adaptive capacity of agroecosystems. It is science-based and recognizes Indigenous knowledge. It also recognizes and values the scientific and technological advances that have made farming more productive and sustainable. Using an agroecological approach, farmers can increase the resilience of their farms to natural disasters and emerging environmental stresses.

Agroecological farming is an important strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimize emissions of greenhouse gases. Agroecology also provides economic, cultural and social benefits. Agroecology is an essential component of a comprehensive plan to address climate change. It is one of the most promising hopes for feeding the world’s population.

Agroecology is based on deep knowledge of farm ecology and cropping systems. It also recognizes the need to engage and work in a dialogue with local communities and Indigenous peoples. In addition to the cultural and social benefits, agroecology protects and preserves the water in the soil.

Fossil fuels are the primary sources of global warming emissions. Agriculture accounted for more than 20 per cent of global GHG emissions in 1995. The agricultural industry charged with a 10 percent reduction in emissions by 2020. However, agroecology has not yet achieved its goal of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a program to help increase the volume of renewable fuels in gasoline. The program is a part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Similarly, individual state governments in the US are considering adopting an emissions approach to biofuels.

Reduces global food waste

Almost a third of the food we eat is wasted. This is a staggering figure. If we cut this waste in half, we could reduce the global population’s intake of nutritious foods by at least ten percent. This would save an incredible amount of money.

Agroecology, also known as ecological agriculture, is a farming method that is based on the idea of mimicking natural ecosystems. It reduces pollution, recycles biomass, and helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector.

Agroecology is a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on ecosystems, biodiversity, and farm ecology. The methods it employs are designed to maximize yields, minimize human impact, and keep prices fair to consumers. It is rooted in traditional farming practices, local culture, and consumption habits, and is used to build sustainable local food systems. Agroecology has been associated with the food sovereignty movement, and has supported social change processes.

Agroecology is an approach to food production that has been studied and tested in Mexico, the United States, and other parts of the world. It incorporates a variety of practices, including local producer’s markets, community-supported e-commerce, and participatory guarantee schemes. The main goal of agroecology is to provide farmers with a system that increases their income while producing food with fewer inputs and less pollution.

Agroecology also emphasizes working with historically underserved populations. The method reduces exposure to pesticides and pests, and limits the use of fertilizers. The land is typically left in a successional state, and multiple crops are planted. This allows for less variability in production and more resilience. Agroecology also supports social networks between farmers and consumers.

Agroecology also seeks to decrease the vulnerability of the agricultural system by increasing its resilience and by producing foods that are more nutritious and fresher. It also aims to improve the livelihoods of local producers and indigenous people.

Agroecology has faced a number of challenges throughout its history. These include conflicts with non-governmental organizations and powerful corporate interests. But it has also contributed to research and social change processes. Its focus on ecosystems has resulted in solutions that are repeatable and can be applied to common problems in agriculture.

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