Integrating Agroecology and Conservation for Sustainable Local Transformation

A special issue of Conservation (ISSN 2673-7159).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2024 | Viewed by 6204

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Colombo 83411-000, Brazil
Interests: conservation and productive restoration in the Araucária forest; agroecology and agroforestry

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Guest Editor
1. Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada
2. Department of History, Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Ponta Grossa 84030-900, Brazil
Interests: food systems; agroecological production; traditional erva-mate production systems; agricultural heritage system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Against a backdrop of intertwined crises, including poverty, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, pandemics, and climate change, small-scale farming communities around the world, who often bear the brunt of restrictive measures to curb deforestation and ecosystem degradation, are finding ways to resist the lock-ins of the industrialized food system and enact alternatives that foster economic viability, ecological regeneration and conservation, and social justice. While there are many avenues for such efforts to take, one framework that offers significant promise and has been gaining increased traction in recent years is that of agroecology. Although agroecology has a long history, particularly in Latin America and other parts of the Global South, it has become increasingly recognized on a global scale, for example by the FAO (2018, 2019), High Level Panel of Experts (2019), and the Committee on World Food Security (2020). With its emphasis on farmer-led innovation, closed-loop systems and knowledge-intensive (as opposed to input-intensive) practices, and general socio-ecological resilience, it offers opportunities to support the conservation of important agro and forest ecosystems on a local scale. The COVID-19 pandemic and current climate crises of drought and wildfires have highlighted the many weaknesses of our food and forest systems, as well as the particular vulnerabilities of smallholder farming communities. Thus, the relevance of agroecology has only increased. This Special Issue will include a range of case studies from both the Global South and North that consider the importance of integrating agroecological approaches with forest and agrobiodiversity conservation as a means to mitigate future uncertainties related to climate shocks; pandemics; natural disasters; and their disruption to forest, food, and agricultural systems.

Dr. André Eduardo Biscaia Lacerda
Dr. Evelyn Roberta Nimmo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • ecosystem degradation
  • deforestation
  • ecological regeneration and conservation
  • agroecology
  • agroecological approaches
  • forest and agrobiodiversity conservation
  • agro and forest ecosystems
  • socio-ecological resilience
  • smallholder farming
  • food and agricultural systems

Published Papers (5 papers)

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24 pages, 4840 KiB  
Article
Traditional Yerba Mate Agroforestry Systems in Araucaria Forest in Southern Brazil Improve the Provisioning of Soil Ecosystem Services
by Lucilia M. Parron, Ricardo Trippia dos G. Peixoto, Krisle da Silva and George G. Brown
Conservation 2024, 4(1), 115-138; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4010009 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Soils are a source of natural capital that provide and regulate a range of ecosystem services (ES) and play an important role in sustaining human welfare. Nonetheless, the quality and quantity of soil ecosystem services (SES) delivery over the long term depend on [...] Read more.
Soils are a source of natural capital that provide and regulate a range of ecosystem services (ES) and play an important role in sustaining human welfare. Nonetheless, the quality and quantity of soil ecosystem services (SES) delivery over the long term depend on the use of sustainable land management practices. In the present study, we assessed seven SES using a set of soil quality indicators in four production systems based on yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis A. St.-Hil) in the Araucaria Forest biome of Southern Brazil: two sites were under traditional agroecological agroforestry management, one was a silvopastoral system with dairy pasture, and the last one was a monoculture yerba mate production system. The SES measured were soil fertility, carbon sequestration, erosion control, nutrient cycling, plant provision, biodiversity, and health. Soil samples were collected at various depths and analysed for chemical, physical, and biological attributes. A principal component analysis on the dataset showed that the soil quality indicators that best represent the variance between the systems at the 0–10 cm layer were acidity, microbial activity (FDA), total nitrogen, (TN), structural stability index (SSI), cation exchange capacity (CEC), pH, sum of bases (SB), microbial quotient (qMic), density of earthworms (EwD), bulk density (BD), and carbon stocks (Cstock). Soil quality indicators ranging from 0 to 1 were used to graphically represent the set of SES. The indicator-based approach used to explain the differences among the four production systems was able to capture the soil functions and offered a good starting point for quantifying SES provision. Full article
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17 pages, 3207 KiB  
Article
Co-Creating Strategies to Optimize Traditional Silvopastoral Systems through the Management of Native Trees in Caívas in Southern Brazil
by Ana Lúcia Hanisch and Lígia Carolina Alcântara Pinotti
Conservation 2024, 4(1), 65-81; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4010005 - 20 Feb 2024
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Abstract
The conservation of forest remnants in southern Brazil is closely related to historical land use, for example in systems such as caívas that occur within remnants of the Araucaria Forest and include livestock production and the extraction of yerba mate. Over the last [...] Read more.
The conservation of forest remnants in southern Brazil is closely related to historical land use, for example in systems such as caívas that occur within remnants of the Araucaria Forest and include livestock production and the extraction of yerba mate. Over the last decade, technologies adapted for these systems have been developed that promote a significant increase in animal productivity, without harming forest regeneration or the maintenance of the tree layer. However, the fertilization of pastures proposed in the technology has also promoted greater growth of native trees, with a consequent increase in shade levels. This, in turn, has affected the maintenance of pasture and yerba mate in the understory. Thus, this study sought to develop a methodology to adjust shade levels based on forest management that adheres to the limits permitted by current legislation. The objective was to evaluate the effect of tree management to maintain 50% shade levels on environmental indicators in a caíva that has been implementing pasture improvement technology since 2013. Native tree management occurred in 2020 and 2022 and the results were compared with data from the floristic survey of the area carried out in 2013. The results indicate that although the adoption of forest management to adjust shade levels reduced the density of individuals, it did not affect forest diversity, nor the basal area of the caíva tree layer. As such, it is possible to maintain pasture and yerba mate production in the area. Strategies like this are fundamental so that the forest landscape can continue to offer a source of production while also supporting environmental conservation. Full article
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18 pages, 340 KiB  
Article
Building an Agroecology Knowledge Network for Agrobiodiversity Conservation
by Evelyn Roberta Nimmo, Erin Nelson, Laura Gómez-Tovar, Mariol Morejón García, Andrew Spring, André E. B. Lacerda, Alessandra Izabel de Carvalho and Alison Blay-Palmer
Conservation 2023, 3(4), 491-508; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3040032 - 11 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
This paper describes the development of a transdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to supporting agroecology knowledge exchange and capacity building that is particularly focused on the sustainable use and conservation of agrobiodiversity. The network—Fostering Effective Agroecology for Sustainable Transformation, or FEAST—includes nodes in Brazil, [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development of a transdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to supporting agroecology knowledge exchange and capacity building that is particularly focused on the sustainable use and conservation of agrobiodiversity. The network—Fostering Effective Agroecology for Sustainable Transformation, or FEAST—includes nodes in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Canada’s Northwest Territories and has been engaged in Participatory Action Research activities since 2015. This paper examines the development of the network over time, including a workshop held in 2019 in and around Curitiba, Brazil, and reflects on the outcomes of knowledge exchange activities. We discuss how the development of the FEAST network has informed participants’ local practice and their sense of belonging to a larger-scale, international movement for agroecology, agrobiodiversity conservation, and food system sustainability. Full article
17 pages, 8120 KiB  
Article
Sustainability of Shade-Grown Erva-Mate Production: A Management Framework for Forest Conservation
by André Eduardo Biscaia Lacerda
Conservation 2023, 3(3), 394-410; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3030027 - 11 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
Despite the socioeconomic importance of erva-mate (Ilex paraguariensis) traditional agroforestry production for family agriculture in Southern Brazil, there has been no systematization of forest management best practices aiming at long-term sustainability. Here, I present an analysis of relevant forest characteristics that [...] Read more.
Despite the socioeconomic importance of erva-mate (Ilex paraguariensis) traditional agroforestry production for family agriculture in Southern Brazil, there has been no systematization of forest management best practices aiming at long-term sustainability. Here, I present an analysis of relevant forest characteristics that are combined with restoration and management best practices to maintain not only sustainable traditional erva-mate production but also a healthy forest environment. Additionally, I developed a framework that offers an easy tool to apply a focused analysis of general forest attributes to help determine best practices for forest restoration, species diversification, and overall sustainability and health of agroforestry systems. This study also demonstrates that the integration of knowledge and practices that small-scale farmers and traditional communities have been developing for generations should be leveraged for more inclusive research and extension, especially considering the threats family farming is facing due to the dominant paradigm of conventional, one-size-fits-all agriculture. Full article
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23 pages, 6138 KiB  
Case Report
Review of Community-Based Conservation Initiatives for Protecting a Primary Atlantic Forest Remnant: A Case Study
by Anita Studer, Marcelo Cardoso de Sousa, Gwyneth Stoudmann, Leandro F. de Melo, Anita da Silva, José Rodrigo de Araujo Guimarães, Cleydeanne E. H. de Oliveira, Marcio José Soares Alves and Sonia M. de Lima Araujo
Conservation 2023, 3(4), 595-617; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3040037 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 953
Abstract
Effective forest conservation should go hand in hand with collaboration of the surrounding local communities. Bringing advancement and relief to marginalized communities is pivotal for conservation initiatives, with the objective of cultivating a sustainable ecosystem while protecting indigenous biodiversity. The linchpin for developing [...] Read more.
Effective forest conservation should go hand in hand with collaboration of the surrounding local communities. Bringing advancement and relief to marginalized communities is pivotal for conservation initiatives, with the objective of cultivating a sustainable ecosystem while protecting indigenous biodiversity. The linchpin for developing successful partnerships begins with fostering a shared understanding of the intricate relationship between humanity and the natural environment. This awareness can be nurtured by interactive education and tangible outcomes that illuminate the profound long-term benefits of conscientious environmental stewardship. Therefore, an emphasis on community-driven conservation and environmental education becomes imperative, serving as a conduit for disseminating crucial information, fostering practical knowledge, and nurturing the attitudes and skills essential in the quest for environmental protection and sustainable development. Education, in this context, operates as a reciprocal process, demanding that educators glean insights from the local populace to effectively tailor strategies that elevate and empower them toward sustainable advancement. This dynamic interaction is where capacity development (CD) becomes indispensable. This paper delves into the unfolding of a series of conservation endeavors, initially driven by Anita Studer’s commitment to preserving a fragment of the primary Atlantic Forest in northeastern Brazil. Evolving into a four-decade educational journey, the actions taken showcase enduring ripple effects across 14 states in Brazil, presenting a comprehensive survey of applied techniques in this unique context. The resources required to achieve collective conservation goals witness a continual upswing, a trend expounded in this paper. Hence, we have chronicled the history, methodology, and projects that transpired in response to the ever-evolving community needs. We will also look at the results and discuss the advancement that ensues following the CBD targets and goals presented at the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference. Full article
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