Master's Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject Biology - Ecology, grade: 1,3, The University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde...
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Master's Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject Biology - Ecology, grade: 1,3, The University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde, language: English, abstract: Agroecosystems are confronted with an urgently needed paradigm shift from productivity gains at the expense of environmental stability and socio-cultural integrity to environmentally and socially resilient agroecosystems. The purpose of this investigation is the development of an agroecosystem resilience assessment tool, which serves farmers and farming communities for assessing and enhancing the robustness of their farming systems, and which generates scientific data about agroecological practices that enhance resilience. Over the past 50 years, the intensification of agriculture via the use of high-yielding crop varieties, productivity-increasing fertilizers and pesticides and improved irrigation systems has led to a substantial increase of food production and simultaneous ecosystem degradation. The consequence is a reduction of biodiversity and a loss of key ecosystem services to and from agriculture, such as soil fertility, soil water holding capacity, nutrient cycling, weed control, pest control, disease control, pollination services, carbon sequestration, energy-use efficiency etc. Agricultural systems are not only main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, but are highly vulnerable to climatic shocks and stresses themselvels. Both farmers and researchers are confronted with uncertainty and surprise considering future developments of agriculture under a climate change scenario. Approaches to combine food production with long-term ecosystem functioning must involve farmers and their traditional ecological knowledge about seed varieties, climatic patterns and cultural context. This study contributes to data generation about links between agroecology and resilience by presenting an ecosystem-based assessment tool that can be used by farmers to identify strengths and weaknesses of their agroecosystems and enhance their resilience through adaptive agroecological management. The tool combines resilience theory with agroecological principles and practices and was developed based on literature review. The assessment consists of a four-step approach: (I) Agroecosystem Diagnostic Analysis, (ii) Response Capacity Assessment, (iii) Choice of Adaptation Practices and (I) Monitoring and Adaptation of Practices.
How Can Climate Robust Agroecosystems Be Designed? Coupling Agroecology and the Resilience Approach