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

Farmer-to-farmer learning is a pillar of the food sovereignty and agroecology movements, enabling territorially-specific learning and alliance-building to support farmers’ livelihoods and broader socio-political transformations. Most accounts of experiences in this field are based on rural contexts and rural farm models. However, the broadening food sovereignty and agroecology movement is...
Event
2021
Agroecology Newsletter of June 2021
Newsletter
2021
The Central American Dry Corridor is one of the Central American areas most affected by climate extreme events, particularly drought. In order to strengthen the sustainability, inclusion, and resilience of the production systems of the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA for its acronym in Spanish), an inventory...
Video
2020
Continuing the process of implementing Agroecological Logbooks in the semiarid region of Brazil, as a tool for the empowerment of rural women, the Semear Internacional Program launches a video that will support all stages of training for the use of this important instrument. With such audiovisual support, the actors involved in...
Brazil
Video
2021
The 2nd newsletter of the project ''The European Agroecology Living Lab and Research Infrastructure Network: Preparation phase''.
Newsletter
2022