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.


The video outlines three case studies of farmers utilizing agroecological practices in their farming systems. It focuses on complex adaptive rice systems in the Easter part of the island of Java, Indonesia; on a large-scale farm in the Netherlands applying sustainable soil management practices; and on social aspects of agroecology...
Brazil - Indonesia - Netherlands
Esta publicação é uma tentativa de esclarecer em que consiste a agroecologia, como é e em mostrar que, quando analisada como um todo, a agroecologia e os seus vários princípios podem ter efeitos positivos significativos em termos de direitos humanos e de direito à alimentação. Simultaneamente, contribui para abordar as...
The Mi Huerto Web uses technology to create a fairer and more direct relationship between producers and consumers, supporting an inclusive, local and sustainable agriculture. "We are convinced that is fundamental to be conscience about what and how we eat, to be responsible towards our neighboring producers. We need to establish...
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...
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