FAO.org

Home > Agroecology Knowledge Hub > Knowledge > 10 elements > Efficiency
Agroecology Knowledge Hub

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

The importance of Agroecology to advance the sustainability of cotton production systems in agricultural schools in Paraguay and in communities of indigenous peoples of Bolivia. Associated with the concept that sustainable production systems is  the key to reducing the impact on natural resources and thus achieving the SDGs, since 2014 the regional...
Brazil
Project
2019
Definire il suo significato e la sua messa in pratica
Website
2019
This paper investigates differences in yield and field microclimate of cotton under traditional planting (one plant in a hole) and cluster planting patterns (three plants in a hole). Yield and field microclimate under traditional and clustered planting in the desert oasis region of Hexi corridor were studied. Results showed that...
China
Journal article
2014
El objetivo de esta tesis fue para evaluar el manejo de los recursos naturales de Chinampas e Invernaderos con indicadores de sostenibilidad articulados a través del marco MESMIS. Un primer diagnóstico espacial mostró la dinámica del uso de la tierra en la zona lacustre de Xochimilco en el período 1989...
Mexico
Working paper
2009
The acceleration of ecological crises has driven a growing body of thinking on sustainability transitions. Agroecology is being promoted as an approach that can address multiple crises in the food system while addressing climate change and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond the more technical definition as, “the ecology...
Journal article
2019