Research Topic

Ecological Intensification and Diversification as Mechanisms for Sustainable Agriculture

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About this Research Topic

Ecological intensification of agriculture and farmland diversification are suggested strategies to produce a sufficient and stable supply of food, fibre and bioenergy for a growing human population, while reducing negative impacts from crop and livestock production on the environment, biodiversity and human ...

Ecological intensification of agriculture and farmland diversification are suggested strategies to produce a sufficient and stable supply of food, fibre and bioenergy for a growing human population, while reducing negative impacts from crop and livestock production on the environment, biodiversity and human health. Ecological intensification involves actively managing functional biodiversity to enhance delivery of production-supporting ecosystem services, such as crop pollination, biological pest control, nutrient cycling and soil quality. Farmland diversification involves increasing the diversity of farmed products, habitats and agricultural practices promoting above and below-ground diversity, with the aim of improving resilience and enhancing ecosystem services. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, but ecological intensification is a management process, whereas diversification is a specifically defined strategy to achieve similar aims. Both can operate at the farm and landscape scales. A key focus for current agro-ecological research is to assess how effective ecological intensification and farmland diversification are at improving environmental, social and economic outcomes, for sustainability goals in agriculture.

In this Research Topic, we wish to gather research in this emerging, vibrant and multi-faceted field. We welcome contributions across bioclimatic regions, farming systems and socio-economic contexts on outcomes of changed farm practices, farming systems, or agricultural policy and land-use to support ecological intensification and diversification. At least one outcome should be defined as a directly measured ecosystem service, and contributions should relate to at least one Sustainable Development Goal. We will collect Original Research and Review papers on the topic, but also other article types, such as Methods and Opinions are welcome.

Authors of review and/or meta-analysis papers should refer to quality guidelines provided by Haddaway et al (2015; 2018) and Philibert et al (2012) (see below).




Quality guidelines to refer to:
- Haddaway, Neal R., Biljana Macura, Paul Whaley, and Andrew S. Pullin. 2018. 'ROSES RepOrting standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses: pro forma, flow-diagram and descriptive summary of the plan and conduct of environmental systematic reviews and systematic maps', Environmental Evidence, 7: 7.
- Haddaway, NR, P Woodcock, B Macura, and A Collins. 2015. 'Making literature reviews more reliable through application of lessons from systematic reviews', Conservation Biology, 29: 1596-605.
- Philibert, Aurore, Chantal Loyce, and David Makowski. 2012. 'Assessment of the quality of meta-analysis in agronomy', Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 148: 72-82.


Keywords: Ecological intensification, Agriculture, Farmland diversification, Food stability, Growing population, Biodiversity, Functional biodiversity, Ecosystem services, SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals


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.

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