Special Issue "Agroecology for the Transition towards Social-Ecological Sustainability"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2018
Dr. Marina García-Llorente
Despite the scientific and technological achievements to improve agricultural productivity, insufficient attention has been paid to the environmental and social consequences of the prevailing agrifood system. Academics, practitioners and activists have been discussing in the last decades how can an increasing population be fed in a social-ecologically sustainable and equitable way. Meanwhile, agricultural intensification has situated agroecosystems in a vulnerable situation because of the decline of cultural values, key ecological processes and ecosystem services. As a response, agroecology was born to address the problems generated by industrial agriculture: it is presented as a practice, scientific discipline, and socio-political movement that tries to apply ecological concepts in the sustainable management of agricultural systems. Like the socio-ecological approach, agroecology requires holistic and interdisciplinary views to analyze the complex relationships that are generated between ecological functioning, human wellbeing, economic profitability, governance models and land-use policies. However, to date, agroecology has not gained enough strength as a scientific discipline and its application in agrarian, rural and landscape planning policies is hence limited. For this Special Issue we welcome contributions exploring how agroecological approaches promote the sustainability of agrarian social-ecological systems. Specifically, we welcome conceptual and empirical studies that may focus on agroecological initiatives that contribute to global and climate change adaptation and mitigation, community supported agriculture models, social and inclusive farming, agrarian ecosystem services assessments, agroecological rural development, the role of local/traditional/indigenous agroecological knowledge and its transmission, agroecological public policies, participatory-actions research processes, and gender and rural perspectives.Dr. Marina García-Llorente
Dr. Elisa Oteros-Rozas
Dr. Federica Ravera
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.
- Ecosystem service
- Local/traditional/indigenous ecological knowledge
- Global change adaptation
- Participatory approach
- Social-ecological system
- Social and inclusive farming
- Social learning
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: How can Traditional Agroecological Knowledge Contribute to an Agroecological Transition? The Case of Conect-e Platform
Authors: Laura Calvet-Mir 1,2, Petra Benyei 2, Laura Aceituno-Mata 3, Manuel Pardo de Santayana 4, Maria Carrascosa 3, Daniel López-García 5, Antonio Perdomo-Molina 3,6 and Victoria Reyes-García 2,5
1 Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
2 Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
3 Red de Semillas “Resembrando e Intercambiando”
4 Departamento de Biología (Botánica), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
5 Universidad Pablo de Olavide
6 Universidad de la Laguna
7 Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA)
Abstract: Traditional agroecological knowledge (TAeK) refers to locally-adapted knowledge systems that have been developed by farmers and other place-based communities around the world through their interaction with nature, which contributes to maintaining environmental and culturally sensitive food systems (Reyes-García et al. 2018). TAeK systems encompass knowledge, practices, and beliefs related to the management of agricultural landscapes and agroecosystem elements (e.g., knowledge on storage and culinary characteristics of landraces). The role that these knowledge systems play in agroecological transition has not been deeply considered. However, some authors (e.g., Guzmán et al. 2013) highlighted that one of the threats to this transition is the erosion of TAeK, pointing out that not only ecological but also socio-cultural and political dimensions of agroecology challenge the transition (Guzmán et al. 2016). Here, we explore how TAeK can contribute to an agroecological transition. Specifically, we analyze CONECT-e (www.conecte.es), a Wikipedia-like citizen science initiative, launched in March 2017 and aiming at gathering and sharing traditional ecological knowledge in Spain (including traditional ecological knowledge on landraces). This contribution is twofold. First, we elaborate how CONECT-e contributes to the socio-cultural dimension of agroecological transition by compiling and digitalizing TAeK on landraces to avoid its erosion and by encouraging the exchange of this knowledge among citizens from diverse origins and ages. Then, we address how CONECT-e contributes to agroecological transition political dimension, by protecting TAeK under a digital commons framework (Reyes-García et al. 2018), to contest misappropriation/enclosure of landraces. In that sense, the content of the platform is protected under a copyleft license, a way to guarantee non-exclusion by allowing reproduction and exchange of intellectual products such as software code, art or information. Moreover, the project has been an opportunity to work together and strengthen alliances between different actors, such as the Spanish Seed Network (Red de Semillas “Resembrando e Intercambiando”), several ethnobiology research teams and rural Agrarian Schools. The first year’s assessment of CONECT-e implementation indicates that an extensive amount of TAeK has been gathered (1527 entries on 430 different landraces), making CONECT-e a promising platform to trigger agroecological transition via recovering TAeK and making it accessible to all the society, avoiding enclosure processes.
Guzmán, G.I.; López-García, D.; Román, L.; Alonso, A.M. Participatory Action Research for an Agroecological Transition in Spain. In Agroecology: A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-oriented Approach, Méndez, V.E., Bacon, C.M., Cohen, R., Gliessman, S.R., Eds.; CRC Press: Boca Ratón, FL, USA, 2016; pp. 140–160.
Guzmán, G.I.; López-García, D.; Román, L.; Alonso, A.M. Participatory action research in agroecology: Building local organic food networks in Spain. Agroecol. Sustain. Food Syst. 2013, 37, 127–146.
Reyes-García, V.; Benyei, P.; Calvet-Mir, L. Traditional Agricultural knowledge as commons. In Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons, Vivero-Pol, J.L., Ferrando, T., de Schutter, O., Mattei, U., Eds.; Routledge: Abingdon, UK, 2018.
Title: Exploring the Connections between Agroecological Practices and Ecosystem Services: A SYSTEMATIC Literature Review
Authors: Palomo-Campesino, S., González, J.A., Ravera, F. and García-Llorente, M
Abstract: Global change, land use intensification, and the increasing worldwide population are threatening the future of the agroecosystems and food security. Within this context, agroecology emerged within political and scientific arenas as a socially equitable and ecologically sustainable approach that considers the full dimension of the food system, form production, processing and marketing, to economic and political decisions. This work aims to explore how agroecology has merged with the ecosystem services framework in scientific literature. We performed a systematic literature review through the Web of Science to explore the connections between sustainable agricultural practices and the supply of ecosystem services, focusing on papers including empirical data. In our search we combined terms related with agricultural practices (e.g., agroecology, organic agriculture, alternative agriculture, permaculture, etc.) and terms related with the ecosystems services supplied by agroecosystems. A total of 632 scientific articles were found in the initial search, 191 of which were selected for the analysis after in-deep review. Most of the papers used a biophysical approach to evaluate ecosystem services (71%), with regulating (99%) and provisioning (41%) services being more frequently analysed than cultural services (13%). Specifically, the ecosystem services most frequently analysed were pest control (59%), soil fertility (40%) and food (39%). Regarding agricultural practices, the most frequently analysed were the absence of chemical inputs (72%), the degree of landscape complexity (35%), and crop rotations (32%). Remarkably, very few papers (14%) included socio-economic and governance issues, which are an essential part of the agroecology framework. Finally, we identify research gaps and provide insights on where future research should focus in order to promote a transition towards sustainable agrarian social-ecological systems that respect human rights, support rural development and enhance human well-being.
Keywords: agricultural landscapes; agroecosystems; agroecological practices; ecosystem services; systematic review
Title: How to “flip the tortilla”: Exploring opportunities for a more sustainable food system in Spain through TEK-driven innovation
Authors: Leonie Guerrero Lara 1, Laura Pereira 2 and Federica Ravera 3 4
Affiliations: 1. Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; 2. School of Arts and Social Sciences of City, University of London, UK; 3. Chair in Agroecology and Food Systems, Universitat de Vic – Universitat, Central de Catalunya, Spain; 4. FRACTAL collective
Abstract: The modern global agrifood system is a main driver of the Anthropocene: Food production entails profound global environmental changes from greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss. Shifting diets further impact planetary and human health. Innovative approaches are needed to shift towards more sustainable, equitable and healthy agrifood systems. Building on the increasing recognition of the relevance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in sustainable agroecological systems, this paper aims to identify and describe innovative initiatives and explore how they act through the valorization and hybridization of TEK to transform the conventional dominant agrifood models. It uses a case-study approach set in Spain, where we conducted semi-structured interviews with agrifood initiatives. We found that in order to promote sustainable agrifood systems, TEK needs to be present from farm-to-fork. Innovative applications of TEK can help to safeguard biocultural diversity that is crucial for the transformation of food systems towards sustainability. Further, gastronomic knowledge among consumers on how to process and prepare local varieties and species is crucial for the implementation of shorter value chains, recognized as an efficient approach for sustainable food systems. Therefore, taking into account TEK can enhance the success of conventional systems of innovation that mainly emphasize scientific and technological knowledge, as dominant epistemological frameworks. Additionally, scaling deep (i.e. changing values) and out/around (i.e. dissemination, reproduction etc.) their novelty, the initiatives act on leverage points for transforming the system.
Keywords: agri-food system; social-ecological innovation; Mediterranean; Spain; Traditional Ecological Knowledge