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.


Este número recoge una variedad diversa de autores/as y entidades que trabajan en ganadería extensiva, dando espacio a artículos que analizan tanto los obstáculos como las oportunidades del sector. Entre ellos, destacan: el pastoreo racional y sus servicios ecosistémicos (de la Universidad de Extremadura), la diferenciación de los productos de...
The increasing demand for more nutritious and safe food in Asia is creating both market opportunities and challenges for organic farmers. Obtaining access to this market requires certification, and many smallholder farmers lack the capacity to differentiate their organic products from the conventional products. This prevent smallholder farmers from profiting...
Cambodia - Lao People's Democratic Republic
Right to Food Newsletter of July 2021
Nutrient uptake and utilization play an important role in yield advantage of intercropping. However, the effects of nutrient and utilization on yield advantage of new intercropping systems are rarely explored in Northwest China. A field experiment was carried out to investigate those effects under maize & potato, maize & rapeseed,...
Journal article
The capacity for leadership is based on talent, vision and commitment, but it also depends on the ability to understand the functioning of sectors and to interact with people in various contexts, with different points of view. The ‘Leadership in Agroecology and Organic Farming’ training course offers the opportunity to...
Sao Tome and Principe