Ecosystem Restoration and Agriculture — Putting Strong Sustainability into Practice
Modern and high-yield oriented agriculture today has to be considered as one of the most important causes of global environmental problems. Besides ecosystem degradation and the loss of ecosystem services, non-sustainable agriculture can also have a significant, negative socio-economic impact. Against this background, new approaches in agriculture have to be developed to meet the need for ecological sustainability taking also social and economic capital into account. Ecosystem restoration could be one option to cope with the worldwide loss of provisioning, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services. All approaches in agriculture that meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG 15, should be considered as potential solutions to the global environmental crisis. In this chapter, agroforestry systems and social agriculture are discussed as an approach for sustainable land use and ecosystem restoration. Both approaches have a high potential to meet sustainability objectives based on the triple-bottom line paradigm of sustainability. The focus will be put on Central Europe and, in particular, the mountain areas of the European Alps. The restoration of degraded land by agroforestry systems and the various environmental and social activities of ecosocial agriculture can meet several objectives of sustainable land use, particularly the restoration of natural as well as social and economic capital, the promotion of biodiversity and agrobiodiversity, and the development of multifunctional cultural landscapes. Additionally, it can prevent or reverse land abandonment.