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 Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology, in collaboration with the FAO National office in Nicaragua, presented a conference on “Permaculture, agroecological strategies and food security”. The conference was held on 30 November 2020 as part of a series of events aiming at capacity building of rural extensionists and at raising...
Nicaragua
Event
2020
Started in January 2021, Agroecology for Europe is a coordination and support action project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Thanks to a European network and the involvement of different actors from diverse horizons and sectors, the project will analyse agroecology through its different pillars: a...
Project
2021
European agriculture and food systems are strongly impacted by many challenges such as soil erosion and degradation, water quality, loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, access to land and other productive resources, farmers' indebtedness, loss of farms, and climate change. Agroecology, as a way to design, develop, and promote the transition...
Project
2021
The practice of natural agriculture focuses on biodiversity preservation and promotes seed conservation.  This approach emphasizes the environment's fundamental characteristics and supports the Satoyama concept that integrates ecological compatibility among landscape and seascape management. In this session, part of the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2021 programme, Shumei Natural Agriculture presented a virtual tour...
Japan
Event
2021
Berkeley University and Growing Roots organize the 2021 Agroecological City conference to engage all involved in critical conversations around building sustainable and resilient cities and exploring creative pathways to get there. The conference will take place on 2-11 March and join urban farmers, food and farming justice advocates, policymakers, educators, community organizers,...
United States of America
Event
2021