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.


This video depicts the second session of the second day of the regional consultation on ‘’Engaging with Academia and Research Institutions (ARIs) to support Family Farmers and Food System Transformation during and post COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia’’ held on  8 and 9 December 2021.  The video focuses on ARIs’ experiences from the Asia region...
The initiative is taking place in the Rabat region. The Zirâa Al Hayate "Seed of Life" cooperative in the Rabat region distributes plant products from 10 farms with agroecology practices. The cooperative's farms started their activities with agroecology techniques in 2017.  The 10 participating farms of the cooperative are labeled Participatory...
This open access book provides a panoramic view of the evolution of Spanish agriculture from 1900 to the present, offering a more diverse picture to the complex and multidimensional reality of agrarian production. With a clear transdisciplinary ambition, the book applies an original and innovative theoretical and methodological tool, termed Agrarian Social...
Agroecology Europe (AEEU) is an international association of members who wants to exchange knowledge and experiences on agroecology, place agroecology high on the European agenda, and support the transition toward agroecological practices, sustainable food systems, and policies. To support exchange, reflection, and bottom-up contributions, Agroecology Europe is organizing together with local farmers,...
This course will explore what agroecology is, what the different approaches are and how they translate into agricultural practices. In a participatory training dynamic, based on the social and geographical diversity of the actors, the MOOC proposes to build an approach to agroecology from the perspective of agronomic sciences, ecology...