Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems

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CRC Press, 2007 - Technology & Engineering - 384 pages
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Providing the theoretical and conceptual framework for this continually evolving field, Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Second Edition explores environmental factors and complexities affecting agricultural crops and animals. Completely revised, updated, and reworked, the second edition contains new data, new readings, new issues and case studies, and new options. It includes two completely new chapters, one on the role of livestock animals in agroecosystems and one on the cultural and community aspects of sustainable food systems.

The author clearly delineates the importance of using an ecosystem framework for determining if a particular agricultural practice, input, or management decision contributes or detracts from sustainability. He explains how the framework provides the ecological basis for the functioning of the chosen management strategy over the long-term. He also examines system level interactions, stressing the need for understanding the emergent qualities of populations, communities, and ecosystems and their roles in sustainable agriculture. Using examples of farming systems in a broad array of ecological conditions, the book demonstrates how to use an ecosystem approach to design and manage agroecosystems for sustainability.
 

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Contents

The Need for Sustainable Food Production Systems
3
The Agroecosystem Concept
23
Plants and Environmental Factors
33
The Plant
35
Light
43
Temperature
59
Humidity and Rainfall
73
Wind
87
Species Interactions in Crop Communities
205
Agroecosystem Diversity and Stability
217
Disturbance Succession and Agroecosystem Management
237
The Energetics of Agroecosystems
255
Animals in Agroecosystems
269
The Transition to Sustainability
287
Converting to Ecologically Based Management
289
Indicators of Sustainability
299

Soil
99
Water in the Soil
115
Fire
131
Biotic Factors
147
The Environmental Complex
163
SystemLevel Interactions
169
The Population Ecology of Agroecosystems
171
Genetic Resources in Agroecosystems
183
Landscape Diversity and Agroecosystem Management
313
Culture Community and Sustainability
327
A From Sustainable Agroecosystems to Sustainable Food Systems
341
References
357
Glossary
369
Index
375
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About the author (2007)

Stephen R. Gliessman is Alfred Heller Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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