About this Research Topic
Ecosystem services contribute significantly to food and nutritional security and the global economy, yet their full potential in maximizing crop yields, especially in the food-insecure countries in the tropics, has not been fully exploited. Ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control, and regulation of disease vectors support vital agricultural production processes and food systems that are key to human wellbeing. Tropical regions are rich in biodiversity that delivers a wide range of ecosystem services. These regions are mostly dominated by developing countries whose economies mainly rely on agriculture, which stand a great chance to benefit from the naturally occurring ecosystem services. Natural ecosystems support the three pillars of food security: availability, access, and food utilization by providing critical ecosystem services. These services, thus, promote agricultural production and create opportunities for income generation for many of the poor households in the tropics.
In this Research Topic, we aim to cover integrated research on the ecosystem services supporting food systems in the African Tropics. Research activities related to ecosystem services in the tropics have more than doubled over the last two decades. This trend is likely to increase in the future as more researchers get interested in studying and monitoring the forces driving ecosystem services.
This Research Topic aims to include Original Research Papers, Reviews, Perspectives, and Data Reports that address the roles of mobile agent-based or intermediate ecosystem service providers underpinning food security in the African Tropics. The main premise of our Research Topic will be linking the current academic knowledge on ecosystem services research with application-driven science. Articles with the potential for up-scaling their findings into regional solutions and those with socio-economic relevance will be more desirable. This Research Topic will have a wide readership and audience including; academia, the agricultural community in the African Tropics (e.g., extension services and smallholder farmers), and other stakeholders. Specifically, the aims of our Research Topic are to;
I. Quantify the ecosystem services or disservices relevant to food security and nutrition in the African Tropics.
II. Increase our knowledge and understanding of the drivers of ecosystem services or disservices in changing tropical landscapes and consequences for the social-economic systems.
III. Create a platform for disseminating and accessing information regarding biodiversity-driven ecosystem services or disservices to raise public awareness within the African Tropics.
IV. Propose instruments for managing agricultural factors that impact ecosystem services delivery and affect ecological networks, including policy interventions, adaptive management, and governance.
Most ecosystem services researchers in the African Tropics find it challenging to publish their work in mainstream international journals because of the narrow regional scope of application and utilization of their research findings. We propose to create a platform for these researchers through this Research Topic to publish cutting-edge and influential research work.
Keywords: Ecological systems, Ecosystem services, Environmental sustainability, Food security, Human well-being, Rural development, Tropical agriculture, Yield gaps
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.