Agroecology Knowledge Hub

Resilience: enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable food and agricultural systems

Diversified agroecological systems are more resilient – they have a greater capacity to recover from disturbances including extreme weather events such as drought, floods or hurricanes, and to resist pest and disease attack. Following Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998, biodiverse farms including agroforestry, contour farming and cover cropping retained 20–40 percent more topsoil, suffered less erosion and experienced lower economic losses than neighbouring farms practicing conventional monocultures.

By maintaining a functional balance, agroecological systems are better able to resist pest and disease attack. Agroecological practices recover the biological complexity of agricultural systems and promote the necessary community of interacting organisms to self-regulate pest outbreaks. On a landscape scale, diversified agricultural landscapes have a greater potential to contribute to pest and disease control functions.

Agroecological approaches can equally enhance socio-economic resilience. Through diversification and integration, producers reduce their vulnerability should a single crop, livestock species or other commodity fail. By reducing dependence on external inputs, agroecology can reduce producers’ vulnerability to economic risk. Enhancing ecological and socio-economic resilience go hand-in-hand – after all, humans are an integral part of ecosystems.


Featuring cases in different sectors and countries around the world, this publication introduces the agroecology approach to linking food, livelihoods and natural resources, presents 10 Elements of Agroecology, and looks at ways of scaling up the people-centred approach to ensure its potential impact is fully realized, promising a brighter future...
Agroecosystems represent 38 % of global land use. Agroecosystems are located close to human settlements and are managed to produce food and fibers, traded in markets. Agroecosystems also produce other goods and services essential to human beings, such as climate regulation, flood mitigation, and landscape amenity. Economists and ecologists have...
Journal article
Agroecology is not a new invention. It can be identified in scientific literature since the 1920s, and has found expression in family farmers’ practices, in grassroots social movements for sustainability and the public policies of various countries around the world. More recently, agroecology has entered the discourse of international and UN...
With increasing pressure on farmers to improve the performance of their cropping systems, there is a growing need to design cropping systems that respond concurrently to environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic constraints. However, the trade-offs between ecosystem services, including provisioning services, can vary considerably from plot to plot. Using a typology...
Costa Rica
Journal article
Lecture: "Sustainable Farming through Agroecology" by Stephen Gliessman with Mark Bittman