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Efficiency : innovative agroecological practices produce more using less external resources

Increased resource-use efficiency is an emergent property of agroecological systems that carefully plan and manage diversity to create synergies between different system components. For example, a key efficiency challenge is that less than 50 percent of nitrogen fertilizer added globally to cropland is converted into harvested products and the rest is lost to the environment causing major environmental problems.

Agroecological systems improve the use of natural resources, especially those that are abundant and free, such as solar radiation, atmospheric carbon and nitrogen. By enhancing biological processes and recycling biomass, nutrients and water, producers are able to use fewer external resources, reducing costs and the negative environmental impacts of their use. Ultimately, reducing dependency on external resources empowers producers by increasing their autonomy and resilience to natural or economic shocks.

One way to measure the efficiency of integrated systems is by using Land Equivalent Ratios (LER). LER compares the yields from growing two or more components (e.g. crops, trees, animals) together with yields from growing the same components in monocultures. Integrated agroecological systems frequently demonstrate higher LERs.

Agroecology thus promotes agricultural systems with the necessary biological, socio-economic and institutional diversity and alignment in time and space to support greater efficiency.

Database

For many years, La Vía Campesina and GRAIN have been telling the world about how the agroindustrial food system causes half of all greenhouse gas emissions. But the world's governments are refusing to face these problems head on, and the Paris Summit in December is approaching without any effective commitment...
فيديو
2015
For many generations subsistence farmers have successfully grown their own fruits and vegetables, and reared their own livestock. KwaHhohho in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, has a rich history of these traditional farming practices. But these are under threat, and this small farming community is fighting to save their natural seeds and traditional...
South Africa
فيديو
2014
Agroecological case studies all over the globe show agroecology in practice.
دراسات الحالة
2016
In September 2015, family farmer Jyoti Fernandes spoke at a Policy Debate in the European Parliament. The video is embedded below and a full transcript of the talk is available here. Being part of the UK Landworkers’ Alliance and the European Coordination of La Vía Campesina (host of the debate),...
فيديو
2015
It is generally accepted that agriculture is a major driver of climate change as well as being acutely challenged to adapt to its effects. Agroecological approaches involve the application of integrated ecological, economic and social principles to the transition of smallholder farming systems, towards greater resilience. This involves adapting 13...
وثيقة عمل
2019
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