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 course ''Agroecology: transition towards sustainable food systems'' is a joint effort of FAO and the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA). The course stimulates the exchange and promotion of agroecological principles and approaches in the context of territorial development, sustainability and resilience, governance and empowerment of communities and...
Event
2021
NAPPC's mission is to encourage the health of resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America. This year, NAPPC partners will gather virtually from throughout North America and beyond on 19-21 October 2021. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS INCLUDE: 1. ABRAM BICKSLER, PH.D., FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS The intersection of sustainable food systems and pollinator...
Event
2021
The National Network of Municipalities and Communities that Promote Agroecology (RENAMA), the Argentine Society of Agroecology (SAAE) and the National Agroecology Directorate (DNAE) of the National Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, call for the collective construction of the VII Month of Agroecology, to be held between 20 October and...
Argentina
Event
2021
The Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) of the McKnight Foundation is hosting an online gathering ''Farmer-centered research for agroecology: Transforming research, reimagining food systems'' on 25-27 October with contributors from across the globe. Participants will hear stories, perspectives, experiences and evidence from farmers, researchers and the organizations that collaborate with them. A...
Event
2021
On 27 October at 12:00-14:00 UTC (14:00-16.00 CEST), the Transformative Partnership Platform on Agroecology (TPP) hosted an online event on ‘’Research on Agroecology: Current strengths and innovative futures for sustainable food systems’’.  The topic of agroecological transformation of agri-food systems and its link to the Sustainable Development Goals was one of the most prevalent...
Event
2021