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Special Issue "Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Alexander Wezel

Professor for Agroecology and Landscape Ecology, Directeor of the Department Agroecology and Environment, ISARA-Lyon, 23, rue Jean Baldassini, 69364 Lyon, France
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +0033-427-85-85-84
Interests: agroecology; biodiversity managment in agroecosystems; result-oriented agri-environment measures; management of drinking water catchments; fish ponds
Guest Editor
Mr. Stéphane Bellon

INRA SAD, Avignon, France
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +0432722583
Interests: dynamics and knowledge in agroecology; organic and ecologically based agricultures; functional biodiversity; systems design and management; research policies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agroecology has gradually developed in the last two decades, but has only recently been more strongly promoted by different movements, organization, institutions, different farmer groups, and also research. Whereas the development of agroecology was very strong from the beginning in Latin America, not enough is known, thus far, for the case of Europe. There are different evolutions in agroecology as a science, movement and practice, but no substantial documentation exists for this for different regions and countries in Europe. Additionally, in relation to policies, only one country, France, has, so far, a policy for developing agroecology in practice, science, and education. Other countries might have elements in their national policies, but not yet clearly defined. The same applies for the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU. Thus, there is a lack of knowledge regarding these agroecology related policies.

We invite to contribute to this Special Issue that provide new insights, developments, applications, and policies related to agroecology in different countries and regions in Europe to get an enlarged and improved view about the development of sustainable agriculture and agroecology in Europe. This includes also the food systems approach in agroecology, as well as historical evolutions in different countries.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Wezel
Mr. Stéphane Bellon
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • agroecological practices
  • agroecology
  • collective action
  • farmers’ movements
  • historical developments of agroecology
  • management of agroecosystems
  • agricultural and environmental policy
  • sustainable agriculture

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Agroecology in Europe: Research, Education, Collective Action Networks, and Alternative Food Systems
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1214; doi:10.3390/su10041214
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Agroecology is considered with different focus and weight in different parts of the world as a social and political movement, as science, and as practice. Despite its multitude of definitions, agroecology has begun in Europe to develop in different regional, national and continental
[...] Read more.
Agroecology is considered with different focus and weight in different parts of the world as a social and political movement, as science, and as practice. Despite its multitude of definitions, agroecology has begun in Europe to develop in different regional, national and continental networks of researchers, practitioners, advocates and movements. However, there is a lack of a comprehensive overview about these different developments and networks. Therefore, this paper attempts to document and provide a mapping of the development of European agroecology in its diverse forms. Through a literature review, interviews, active conference participation, and an extensive internet search we have collected information about the current state and development of agroecology in Europe. Agroecological research and higher education exist more in western and northern Europe, but farm schools and farmer-to-farmer training are also present in other regions. Today a large variety of topics are studied at research institutions. There is an increasing number of bottom-up agroecological initiatives and national or continental networks and movements. Important movements are around food sovereignty, access to land and seeds. Except for France, there are very few concrete policies for agroecology in Europe. Agroecology is increasingly linked to different fields of agri-food systems. This includes Community Supported Agriculture systems, but also agroecological territories, and some examples of labelling products. To amplify agroecology in Europe in the coming years, policy development will be crucial and proponents of agroecology must join forces and work hand-in-hand with the many stakeholders engaged in initiatives to develop more sustainable agriculture and food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
Open AccessArticle We Don’t Want to Be Officially Certified! Reasons and Implications of the Participatory Guarantee Systems
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1142; doi:10.3390/su10041142
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
Official organic regulation in Europe is based on the third-party certification system to guarantee organic products. Many critics and dissatisfactions have motivated the emergence of other guarantee systems, based on an intense implication of producers and, in some cases, consumers and other local
[...] Read more.
Official organic regulation in Europe is based on the third-party certification system to guarantee organic products. Many critics and dissatisfactions have motivated the emergence of other guarantee systems, based on an intense implication of producers and, in some cases, consumers and other local actors, involved in localised agri-food systems. They are called Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), and are not recognised as valid guarantee systems by the official organic regulation. In the present paper, we analyse the main differences between the PGS and the third party certification system, deepening on their differentiated social and political implications. We conclude that the procedures behind PGS generate numerous positive impacts in the territories related to local producers (and consumers) empowerment and localised agri-food systems drive, while their implications make them not considered as a substitute to third party certification system, unless certain conditions of social consolidated groups and agroecological and food sovereignty perspective of food system take place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle The Coexistence of Multiple Worldviews in Livestock Farming Drives Agroecological Transition. A Case Study in French Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Cheese Mountain Areas
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1097; doi:10.3390/su10041097
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 6 April 2018
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Abstract
Livestock systems contribute significantly to environmental issues and need to undergo an agroecological transition. This transition is not only technical, but also involves an evolution of farmers’ ways of seeing and interpreting the world, i.e., worldviews. We investigate livestock farmers’ worldviews and their
[...] Read more.
Livestock systems contribute significantly to environmental issues and need to undergo an agroecological transition. This transition is not only technical, but also involves an evolution of farmers’ ways of seeing and interpreting the world, i.e., worldviews. We investigate livestock farmers’ worldviews and their relationships with farming practices (grazing and mowing management) in three Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese areas in the French mountains. The study is based on quantitative and comprehensive qualitative surveys in 37 farms. We identify entities typically considered by farmers and the kind of relations they have with these entities, as well as the ontological background, sources of knowledge, and worlds of justifications. Four ideal-typical worldviews emerge: Modern; Traditional; Ecological Intensive; Holist. These four worldviews coexist in each area and also at the farm scale. Three selected farmer monographs illustrate this complexity in detail. The four worldviews are consistent with other typologies in literature. Both Ecological Intensive and Holist worldviews can be considered as “agroecological”; however, they correspond to very different conceptions of agroecology. Different worldviews imply different sustainability indicators and pathways, as well as alternative knowledge-management systems. Finally, the coexistence of multiple worldviews is a key driver of the agroecological transition, which can be enhanced by facilitating confrontation and exchanges between worldviews. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Development of the Concept of Agroecology in Europe: A Review
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1210; doi:10.3390/su10041210
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The concept of Agroecology is still not widely discussed in European countries. Therefore, the aim of this review is to present a qualitative and quantitative mixed analysis of this conceptualization based on research papers to provide initial answers to the following questions: How
[...] Read more.
The concept of Agroecology is still not widely discussed in European countries. Therefore, the aim of this review is to present a qualitative and quantitative mixed analysis of this conceptualization based on research papers to provide initial answers to the following questions: How has the agroecology been used in terms of social movement, science and agricultural practice in the European countries? At which scales has it been applied? Which factors have influenced its application? Speech analysis and multivariable techniques are applied to systematized information. According to found results, the concept of agroecology is mainly conceived as science, then as practice and to a lesser degree as a social movement. There is a predominance of studies at plot level, with a tendency to include physical-biological factors; and at agroecosystem, regional and agri-food system levels, including designers, landscapes and consumers. There is a conceptual evolution in extensive quantitative and intensive qualitative standings when the agroecology incorporates more factors, such as economic, social, and, to a lesser extent, cultural and political, and becomes more transdisciplinary as a response to more complex phenomena that support the genesis and development of this concept. In this regard, a greater balance between its conceptions (science, practice and social movement) is recommended to achieve a better dialogue between abstract and empirical levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
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Open AccessReview Supporting Agricultural Ecosystem Services through the Integration of Perennial Polycultures into Crop Rotations
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2267; doi:10.3390/su9122267
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review analyzes the potential role and long-term effects of field perennial polycultures (mixtures) in agricultural systems, with the aim of reducing the trade-offs between provisioning and regulating ecosystem services. First, crop rotations are identified as a suitable tool for the assessment of
[...] Read more.
This review analyzes the potential role and long-term effects of field perennial polycultures (mixtures) in agricultural systems, with the aim of reducing the trade-offs between provisioning and regulating ecosystem services. First, crop rotations are identified as a suitable tool for the assessment of the long-term effects of perennial polycultures on ecosystem services, which are not visible at the single-crop level. Second, the ability of perennial polycultures to support ecosystem services when used in crop rotations is quantified through eight agricultural ecosystem services. Legume–grass mixtures and wildflower mixtures are used as examples of perennial polycultures, and compared with silage maize as a typical crop for biomass production. Perennial polycultures enhance soil fertility, soil protection, climate regulation, pollination, pest and weed control, and landscape aesthetics compared with maize. They also score lower for biomass production compared with maize, which confirms the trade-off between provisioning and regulating ecosystem services. However, the additional positive factors provided by perennial polycultures, such as reduced costs for mineral fertilizer, pesticides, and soil tillage, and a significant preceding crop effect that increases the yields of subsequent crops, should be taken into account. However, a full assessment of agricultural ecosystem services requires a more holistic analysis that is beyond the capabilities of current frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
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