E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Agroecology for the Transition towards Social-Ecological Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Marina García-Llorente

Madrid Institute for Rural Development, Agricultural and Food Research (IMIDRA), Madrid, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agroecology; ecosystem service assessment; human connectedness to nature; rural development; social-ecological system; social farming; participatory action research
Guest Editor
Dr. Elisa Oteros-Rozas

Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO), Seville, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: traditional ecological knowledge; pastoralism; political agroecology; gender; new peasantries
Guest Editor
Dr. Federica Ravera

Universitat de Vic- Universitat Central de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate change adaptation; ecological economics; gender; multicriteria decision analysis; scenarios; sustainable rural development; vulnerability assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
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 semimonthly 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 1700 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

  • Agroecology
  • Agroecosystem
  • Ecosystem service
  • Local/traditional/indigenous ecological knowledge
  • Gender            
  • Governance
  • Global change adaptation
  • Participatory approach
  • Social-ecological system
  • Social and inclusive farming
  • Social learning

Published Papers (17 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-17
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle The Potential Role of Short Food Supply Chains in Strengthening Periurban Agriculture in Spain: The Cases of Madrid and Barcelona
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2080; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072080
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
PDF Full-text (880 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Periurban agriculture is being hit by the effects of the globalized food system, as well as by concrete aspects of urban sprawl. Nonetheless, proximity to the main markets provides an opportunity to sustain agriculture in highly urbanized areas. In this sense, an increasing [...] Read more.
Periurban agriculture is being hit by the effects of the globalized food system, as well as by concrete aspects of urban sprawl. Nonetheless, proximity to the main markets provides an opportunity to sustain agriculture in highly urbanized areas. In this sense, an increasing number of local initiatives is arising within the context of Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs). The economic impact of these initiatives, however, is limited by problems and inefficiencies that hinder their capacity to scale up. The present paper sets forth the results of a research project developed in Madrid and Cataluña. The study is based upon documentary and empirical research addressing the main problems periurban farmers are facing in relation to local food distribution. Among other factors, these refer to regulatory barriers, logistics, competition and dealing with consumers’ preferences. We conducted a questionnaire with a representative group of farmers from each region in three towns presenting different demographic sizes along with another questionnaire extended to the owners of small grocery stores, who play a vital role in the supply of fresh food in these municipalities. Our research demonstrates that most of the problems arising when dealing with SFSCS can be solved by introducing new forms of cooperation among the different agents of the food chain. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Agrobiodiversity and Public Food Procurement Programs in Brazil: Influence of Local Stakeholders in Configuring Green Mediated Markets
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051425
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
PDF Full-text (2190 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The last few years have seen the emergence of different initiatives designed to promote the biodiversification of agroecosystems as a counterpoint to the global expansion of homogenized industrial agriculture. In Brazil, two food procurement programs demonstrate the potential to promote discussions related to [...] Read more.
The last few years have seen the emergence of different initiatives designed to promote the biodiversification of agroecosystems as a counterpoint to the global expansion of homogenized industrial agriculture. In Brazil, two food procurement programs demonstrate the potential to promote discussions related to this agroecological transition: the National School Meal Program (Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar, PNAE) and the Food Procurement Program (Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos, PAA). The objectives of this paper are to analyze: (a) how these procurement programs currently integrate agrobiodiversity (crops and cropping systems) according to the local context; (b) the main challenges that key stakeholders perceive for the adoption of biodiverse systems; and (c) the extent to which the key stakeholders involved in these programs associate agrobiodiversity with the provision of ecosystem services. We carried out this research in 2017 in two contrasting municipalities in the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon, Paragominas and Irituia. Our research shows that these programs have included up to 42 species in Irituia and 32 species in Paragominas. Perennial crop species are the most common type of culture in Irituia (up to 50%), while vegetables are the most common in Paragominas (up to 47%). Although in both municipalities stakeholders identify a large number of ecosystem services (up to 17), services mentioned in Irituia were more closely related to agrobiodiversity. Stakeholders indirectly associated with the programs have a broader view of ecosystem services. We conclude that these procurement programs can be useful tools to promote the biodiversification of local production systems, but their potential may depend on involving institutions not directly associated with their administration. Additionally, despite the observed differences in production context, providing more ecosystem services appears to be a compelling motivation for promoting changes in agroecosystems. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Flipping the Tortilla: Social-Ecological Innovations and Traditional Ecological Knowledge for More Sustainable Agri-Food Systems in Spain
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051222
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
PDF Full-text (1358 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The conventional dominant global agri-food system is a main driver in the Anthropocene: food production entails profound global environmental changes from greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss, and shifting diets further impact planetary and human health. Innovative approaches are needed to shift towards [...] Read more.
The conventional dominant global agri-food system is a main driver in the Anthropocene: food production entails profound global environmental changes from greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss, and shifting diets further impact planetary and human health. Innovative approaches are needed to shift towards more sustainable, equitable and healthy agri-food systems. Building on the increasing recognition of the relevance of traditional agroecological knowledge (TAeK) in sustainable food systems, this paper aims to describe innovative agri-food initiatives and explore how the use and valorization of TAeK may transform conventional agri-food systems. It employs a case-study approach in Spain, where we conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 representatives of alternative agri-food initiatives. We found that, to promote sustainable agri-food systems, TAeK has to span from farm-to-fork. Innovative agroecological practices and knowledge help to safeguard biocultural diversity, while gastronomic knowledge among consumers on how to process and prepare local varieties and species is crucial for the implementation of shorter value chains. We discuss how TAeK enhances the success of conventional systems of innovation, challenging dominant epistemological frameworks. By scaling deep (changing values), scaling out (dissemination, reproduction) and scaling up (changing institutions), the agri-food initiatives may act on leverage points to enable broader transformation of the Spanish agri-food system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Agroecological Strategies for Reactivating the Agrarian Sector: The Case of Agrolab in Madrid
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041181
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
PDF Full-text (2643 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the social and ecological obsolescence of the conventional agricultural model and the crisis faced by rural areas, innovative models based on collective initiatives and agroecological practices are emerging. Here, we present the use of a participatory farming lab as a space to [...] Read more.
Considering the social and ecological obsolescence of the conventional agricultural model and the crisis faced by rural areas, innovative models based on collective initiatives and agroecological practices are emerging. Here, we present the use of a participatory farming lab as a space to reactivate the agrarian sector in rural and periurban areas of Madrid. The specific objectives of this study are: (1) to describe the project; (2) to identify participants’ profiles and motivations and (3) to identify the most socially valued ecosystem services and the actions collectively taken to enhance them. To do so, we have used the living lab conceptual approach and the ecosystem service lens. Data gathering included a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, including participant observation, informal and formal meetings, interviews, workshops and surveys. We found a diversity of motivations for enrolling in the program and 20 ecosystem services were selected as socially important. We also describe how the project has contributed to adopting agroecological practices to sustain those ecosystem services. Finally, we discuss the contribution of the project towards new and integrated rural development strategies, including its potential to promote cooperative solutions that enhance farming activity by also providing ecosystem services. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Governance of Ecosystem Services in Agroecology: When Coordination is Needed but Difficult to Achieve
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041158
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
PDF Full-text (1107 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transitioning towards agroecology involves the integration of biodiversity based ecosystem services into farming systems: for example, relying on biological pest control rather than pesticides. One promising approach for pest control relies on the conservation of semi-natural habitats at the landscape scale to encourage [...] Read more.
Transitioning towards agroecology involves the integration of biodiversity based ecosystem services into farming systems: for example, relying on biological pest control rather than pesticides. One promising approach for pest control relies on the conservation of semi-natural habitats at the landscape scale to encourage natural enemies of insect pests. However, this approach may require coordination between farmers to manage the interdependencies between the providers and beneficiaries of this ecosystem service. The main objective of this study was to identify hindrances to landscape-scale coordination strategies to control pests. To this end, we used a theoretical framework specifically designed to explore social interdependencies linked to ecosystem services. We applied this framework to a participatory research case study on pest control in apple orchards in southwest France to identify and describe key obstacles. We found four main impediments: (1) The perception of most stakeholders that the landscape does not deliver significant pest control services, (2) the challenge of coping with agroecological uncertainties, (3) an integrated vertical supply chain focused on pesticide use, (4) the existence of independent, non-collective alternatives. We discuss the potential of overcoming these obstacles or turning them into opportunities that promote a transition to agroecology and the integration of ecosystem services in farms and their supply chains. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Eating Well with Organic Food: Everyday (Non-Monetary) Strategies for a Change in Food Paradigms: Findings from Andalusia, Spain
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041003
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
PDF Full-text (536 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the context of nutritional disaffection with a dominant food and agricultural system and the social questioning of everyday nutritional habits, we studied what Eating Well means to people and what role organic food plays in their lives. We conducted 11 discussion groups [...] Read more.
In the context of nutritional disaffection with a dominant food and agricultural system and the social questioning of everyday nutritional habits, we studied what Eating Well means to people and what role organic food plays in their lives. We conducted 11 discussion groups that were carried out in Andalusia, Spain; participants had different socio-demographic characteristics—they lived in either rural or urban areas, had different purchasing channels, and practiced varying degrees of organic food consumption. The investigation revealed (1) the motives and limitations for the consumption of organic foods, as perceived by the consumers of organic foods, and (2) the everyday strategies practiced to overcome these limitations. In both cases, this research transcends the classical analyses focused on the price of a product, when proposing a framework for alternative strategies that are based on the ordinary knowledge and practices of the consumers, by looking at consumption through an integrated lens that is rooted in the notion of what consumers consider to be Eating Well. This study shows that Eating Well—according to the criteria of the consumers and the implemented strategies—breaks from the dichotomous or exclusive focus on economic or ideological motives, and revalues feminine and rural knowledge and practices, for a comprehensive management of nutrition. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Agroecology as a Practice-Based Tool for Peacebuilding in Fragile Environments? Three Stories from Rural Zimbabwe
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030790
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 2 February 2019
PDF Full-text (582 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates how transformative agroecology may contribute to the critical reframing of social–ecological relationships, and how this might in turn create a foundation for bottom-up peace formation in fragile environments, within which rural communities are often habituated to conditions of control, violence [...] Read more.
This paper investigates how transformative agroecology may contribute to the critical reframing of social–ecological relationships, and how this might in turn create a foundation for bottom-up peace formation in fragile environments, within which rural communities are often habituated to conditions of control, violence and mistrust that drive social division. Here, we consider the value of social farming in reforging relationships through which social–ecological change may be negotiated and alternative sources of agency and identity may be cultivated in order to transcend entrenched patterns of division. Three case studies are presented, drawing on primary data from participatory action research with farming communities in Zimbabwe that also consider the differential attitudes and experiences of agroecological and conventional farmers. The study finds that, where agroecological farmers were exposed to more plural ways of thinking, being and acting together, levels of autonomy from coercive structures were increasing, as were both a sense of efficacy and optimism to effect social–ecological change. This was particularly pronounced where collective processes to shape physical landscapes were forging bonds of solidarity, reciprocity and trust. In these cases, agroecological farmers were increasingly able to envisage a future together shaped by collective endeavour, evidenced by changing attitudes and relationships with one another and their environment. The paper explores the extent to which farmers in each location were able to instrumentalise resilience and agency for everyday peace, and the variances found according to historical context and local power dynamics that represent barriers to change. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Resignification Practices of Youth in Zona da Mata, Brazil in the Transition Toward Agroecology
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010197
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
PDF Full-text (11931 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Youth play an important role in the transition toward agroecology through practices of resignification. This article discusses how young people resignify agroecology by taking part in education initiatives that originate from social movements, and that aim to strengthen young peoples’ abilities to reflect [...] Read more.
Youth play an important role in the transition toward agroecology through practices of resignification. This article discusses how young people resignify agroecology by taking part in education initiatives that originate from social movements, and that aim to strengthen young peoples’ abilities to reflect on their practices and realities. We used action research to create films with young agroecologists in the region of Zona da Mata Mineira, Brazil. Our analysis draws on films, interviews and participatory observations made during thirteen workshops to visualize the agroecological practices and visions of youth. We explore how social frames—e.g., the specific ways in which people understand reality—shape practices and how these frames are actively changed by youth. The findings show how frames are changed during (1) frame amplification by building on existing local values; (2) frame bridging by linking with other social movements; (3) frame extension by inclusion of new frames; and (4) frame transformation by altering the meaning of agroecology. We find that young people who engage with agroecology contribute to processes of repeasantization that rework local culture to be more inclusive of different populations, generations and genders, and that they foster an appreciation of the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Participatory Guarantee Systems in Peru: Two Case Studies in Lima and Apurímac and the Role of Capacity Building in the Food Chain
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124644
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
PDF Full-text (1748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Participatory guarantee systems (PGS) are an emerging strategy in the organic farming and agroecology movement for ensuring the sustainable origin of food. This study focused on the perspectives of stakeholders involved in PGS in Peru (Lima and Apurímac) in order to acquire a [...] Read more.
Participatory guarantee systems (PGS) are an emerging strategy in the organic farming and agroecology movement for ensuring the sustainable origin of food. This study focused on the perspectives of stakeholders involved in PGS in Peru (Lima and Apurímac) in order to acquire a greater understanding of how these PGS operate and the context in which they are embedded. Qualitative and quantitative approaches were used for data collection in 2016. PGS in Peru have a fairly centralized pyramid structure, with non-governmental organizations and regional farmers’ associations the main driving forces behind PGS implementation. Improved access to markets and additional commercialization channels are major motivations for farmers to participate in PGS, but major difficulties in these two areas are still being encountered in both regions. There is a high demand among farmers for technical training. Farmers acting as internal evaluators play a special role in their local nuclei and are crucial in the PGS process. The PGS in Lima and Apurímac are an important tool in the agro-ecological movement in Peru and offer considerable potential for the support of small-scale farmers. However, there is a need for official recognition and support together with improvements in internal organization and communication for PGS to be able to maintain their principles. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Understanding Farm Diversity to Promote Agroecological Transitions
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4337; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124337
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 17 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Agroecology is increasingly promoted by scientists, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), international organisations and peasant movements as an approach to foster the transition to sustainable and equitable food systems. The challenges to agroecological transitions are not the same for all farmers, as they can face [...] Read more.
Agroecology is increasingly promoted by scientists, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), international organisations and peasant movements as an approach to foster the transition to sustainable and equitable food systems. The challenges to agroecological transitions are not the same for all farmers, as they can face different social and bio-physical conditions. We developed a farm typology combining participatory and quantitative methodologies to assess and categorise farm diversity and its implications for developing strategies to promote agroecological transitions. The participatory typology was developed during workshops to acquire insights on local farmers’ perceptions and knowledge, and to generate hypotheses on family farm diversity. The participatory-based hypotheses were tested in the quantitative farm characterisation, which provided information on household characteristics, production strategies, land use, participation in public policies and extension services. Farms were located in Zona da Mata, Minas Gerais, Brazil, which harbour a wide diversity of farmers and where different actors have been engaged in agroecological transitions for the past 30 years. Our main findings were: (i) In the face of agroecological transitions, farmers differ in their management strategies, practices and principles; (ii) farmers identified as agroecological typically had stronger engagements in a network composed of farmers’ organisations, universities and NGO’s; (iii) agroecological farms showed great potential to provide a wide range of ecosystem services as they featured a higher crop diversity and a higher number of crops for self-consumption; (iv) to promote agroecology, it is crucial to recognise peasant knowledge, to change the dominant discourse on agriculture through social movement dynamics, and to generate support from public policies and funds; and (v) participatory and quantitative methodologies can be combined for more precise and relevant assessments of agroecological transitions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Contribution of Traditional Agroecological Knowledge as a Digital Commons to Agroecological Transitions: The Case of the CONECT-e Platform
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093214
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditional agroecological knowledge (TAeK) refers to the cumulative and evolving body of knowledge, practices, beliefs, institutions, and worldviews about the relationships between a society or cultural group and their agroecosystems. These knowledge systems contribute to maintaining environmental and culturally sensitive food systems and [...] Read more.
Traditional agroecological knowledge (TAeK) refers to the cumulative and evolving body of knowledge, practices, beliefs, institutions, and worldviews about the relationships between a society or cultural group and their agroecosystems. These knowledge systems contribute to maintaining environmental and culturally sensitive food systems and have been considered very relevant for agroecological transitions, or the processes of scaling-up and -out agroecology. However, TAeK’s erosion and enclosure threatens its use and reproduction, which in turn might affect TAeK’s potential contribution to agroecological transitions. Here, we explore how transforming TAeK, and particularly TAeK on landraces, into a digital commons can contribute to its maintenance and protection, and thus to agroecological transitions. We do so by analyzing the CONECT-e platform, an initiative for digitally storing and sharing TAeK in a participatory way. One year after being launched, CONECT-e has documented 452 geographically distinct landraces from 81 different species. The information shared in this platform is well-structured, clear, and reliable; it thus allows for the replication of the knowledge reported. Moreover, because CONECT-e makes the documented information freely available and protects it with a copyleft license, placing information in this platform could help one face landrace misappropriation issues. CONECT-e, or similar initiatives, could contribute to agroecological transitions via maintaining TAeK under the digital commons framework, making it accessible to all society and avoiding enclosure processes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Translating Agroecology into Policy: The Case of France and the United Kingdom
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082930
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The popularity of agroecology has grown over the last few years as an alternative paradigm for food systems. This public attention has meant agroecology is increasingly becoming institutionalised and integrated into food policy frameworks. While there is a significant body of literature discussing [...] Read more.
The popularity of agroecology has grown over the last few years as an alternative paradigm for food systems. This public attention has meant agroecology is increasingly becoming institutionalised and integrated into food policy frameworks. While there is a significant body of literature discussing the origins and worldviews intrinsic to agroecology, hardly any academic publications focusing on analysing policies claiming to have an agroecological focus exist. This first policy study of its kind contributes to the scarce agroecological policy literature by interrogating what we argue is a ‘translation’ process, which starts with the vision of agroecology and analyses how the concept changes once it has been operationalised into a policy document or law. Evidence from two European agricultural policy contexts, namely France and the United Kingdom, is presented. The methodology followed focused on the analysis of the context, problem construction, conceptualisation of agroecology, operational principles, and policy instruments included in the policy documents. Three main themes emerged from the case studies: differences in framing agroecology in the public policy arena; common dependencies to existing configurations influencing translations of agroecology in public policies; and the need for democratic discussion on the hybridisation of agroecology itself, as well as on implied, but often veiled, political choices. This paper concludes that a selective and relational hybridisation of agroecology is emerging during its ‘translation’ into public policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Assessment of Pastoral Dairy Goat Husbandry from an Agroecological Economics Perspective. A Case Study in Andalusia (Spain)
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082838
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
PDF Full-text (865 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a methodological proposal of new energy sustainability indicators according to a novel accounting that follows agroecological and ecological economics criteria. Energy output is reformulated to include manure and thus consider the contribution to fertilization made by pastoral livestock farming to [...] Read more.
This paper presents a methodological proposal of new energy sustainability indicators according to a novel accounting that follows agroecological and ecological economics criteria. Energy output is reformulated to include manure and thus consider the contribution to fertilization made by pastoral livestock farming to agroecosystems. Energy inputs calculations include the grazing resources. These new definitions and calculations allow for new formulations of the energy return on investment (EROI) as measures of the energy efficiency of livestock farming systems (final EROI and food/feed EROI). The environmental benefit of manure is estimated from the avoided energy cost of using this alternative to inorganic fertilizers (AECM). The environmental benefit of grazing is measured through the energy cost of avoiding cultivated animal feed (AECP) and its impact in terms of non-utilized agricultural area (ALCP). The comparative analysis of different livestock breeding systems in three pastoral dairy goat farms in the Sierra de Cádiz in Andalusia, southern Spain, reveals the analytical potential of the new energy sustainability indicators proposed, as well as the potential environmental benefits derived from territorial-based stockbreeding and, more specifically, grazing activities. Those benefits include gains in energy efficiency, a reduction of the dependence on non-renewable energy, and environmental costs avoided in terms of energy in extensive pastoral systems. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Holistic Management and Adaptive Grazing: A Trainers’ View
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1848; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061848
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Holistic Management (HM) is a grazing practice that typically uses high-intensity rotation of animals through many paddocks, continually adapted through planning and monitoring. Despite widespread disagreement about the environmental and production benefits of HM, researchers from both sides of that debate seem to [...] Read more.
Holistic Management (HM) is a grazing practice that typically uses high-intensity rotation of animals through many paddocks, continually adapted through planning and monitoring. Despite widespread disagreement about the environmental and production benefits of HM, researchers from both sides of that debate seem to agree that its emphasis on goal-setting, complexity, adaptivity and strategic decision-making are valuable. These ideas are shared by systems thinking, which has long been foundational in agroecology and recognized as a valuable tool for dealing with agricultural complexity. The transmission of such skills is thus important to understand. Here, twenty-five Canadian and American adaptive grazing trainers were interviewed to learn more about how they teach such systems thinking, and how they reflect upon their trainees as learners and potential adopters. Every trainer considered decision-making to be a major component of their lessons. That training was described as tackling both the “paradigm” level—changing the way participants see the world, themselves or their farm—and the “concept/skill” level. Paradigm shifts were perceived as the biggest challenge for participants. Trainers had difficulty estimating adoption rates because there was little consensus on what constituted an HM-practitioner: to what level must one adopt the practices? We conclude that: (1) trainers’ emphasis on paradigms and decision-making confirms that HM is systems thinking in practice; (2) the planning and decision-making components of HM are distinct from the grazing methods; and (3) HM is a fluid and heterogeneous concept that is difficult to define and evaluate. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Absent Agroecology Aid: On UK Agricultural Development Assistance Since 2010
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020505
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using figures published by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), this study finds that despite overwhelming evidence in favour of agroecology as a mode of agricultural development able to address crucial aspects of the interrelated crises facing human societies, UK development aid [...] Read more.
Using figures published by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), this study finds that despite overwhelming evidence in favour of agroecology as a mode of agricultural development able to address crucial aspects of the interrelated crises facing human societies, UK development aid barely supports agroecology. Based on the most generous interpretation, this study shows for the first time that aid for agroecological projects is less than 5% of agricultural aid and less than 0.5% of total UK aid budget since 2010. Since 1 January 2010, no funds at all have been directed at or been committed to projects with the main focus on development or promotion of agroecological practices. Minor funds have been directed at projects which include some activities promoting agroecology at the most basic level of resource efficiency (e.g., conservation agriculture). By largely supporting industrial and Green Revolution agriculture, UK Aid priorities contribute very little to the transition towards social-ecological sustainability in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Exploring the Connections between Agroecological Practices and Ecosystem Services: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4339; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124339
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3899 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Current patterns of global change are threatening the supply of agrarian ecosystem services on which human well-being depends. Within this context, agroecology has emerged within political and scientific arenas as a socially equitable and ecologically sustainable alternative to conventional agriculture. We performed a [...] Read more.
Current patterns of global change are threatening the supply of agrarian ecosystem services on which human well-being depends. Within this context, agroecology has emerged within political and scientific arenas as a socially equitable and ecologically sustainable alternative to conventional agriculture. We performed a systematic literature review to explore how agroecology and the ecosystem services framework have been adopted together in the scientific literature, focusing on studies including empirical data on the effects of agroecological practices on the supply of ecosystem services. In our search, we combined terms related to agricultural practices and terms related to ecosystem services. A total of 179 scientific articles were analyzed. Most of the studies used a biophysical approach to evaluate ecosystem services, with regulating and provisioning services being more frequently analyzed than cultural services. More than half of the analyzed relationships between agroecological practices and ecosystem services were positive. Remarkably, our review showed that many of the ten elements of agroecology defined by the FAO have not been properly addressed in the literature. Finally, we identified research gaps and provided insights on where future research and policies should be focused in order to promote the transition towards sustainable agrarian social-ecological systems that increase the supply of ecosystem services while minimizing environmental impacts. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Agroecology in Canada: Towards an Integration of Agroecological Practice, Movement, and Science
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093299
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article surveys the current state of agroecology in Canada, giving particular attention to agroecological practices, the related social movements, and the achievements of agroecological science. In each of these realms, we find that agroecology emerges as a response to the various social [...] Read more.
This article surveys the current state of agroecology in Canada, giving particular attention to agroecological practices, the related social movements, and the achievements of agroecological science. In each of these realms, we find that agroecology emerges as a response to the various social and ecological problems associated with the prevailing industrial model of agricultural production that has long been promoted in the country under settler colonialism. Although the prevalence and prominence of agroecology is growing in Canada, its presence is still small and the support for its development is limited. We provide recommendations to achieve a more meaningful integration of agroecology in Canadian food policy and practice. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top