Agroecology: Farming Systems with Nature as Guide

P. Porter, C. A. Francis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Natural ecosystems provided an early model for people to design resource-efficient farming systems adapted to specific places with unique climate and soil conditions. Building on nature's model of biodiversity continues to provide ideas about structure and function of systems that can depend on internal supplies of nutrients, manage pests, and capture solar energy and precipitation to produce food, feed, fiber, and fuel to meet human needs. Efficiency of resource use, substitution of inputs, and redesign of agroecosystems based on nature's model provide viable alternatives in converting present agricultural monoculture systems that require scarce fossil fuels and imported fertilizers and chemicals to more resilient and sustainable options. As important as sustainable production, diverse agroecosystems provide invaluable ecosystem services such as clean air and water, capture and storage of carbon dioxide, cycling nutrients, and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events in a changing climate. Natural systems have evolved to survive the test of time; farming systems with this same capacity are needed for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCrop Systems
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780123948083
ISBN (Print)9780123948076
StatePublished - Aug 27 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Agroecosystem analysis
  • Biodiverse cropping systems
  • Crop/animal interactions
  • Farming systems
  • Food systems
  • Perennial polyculture
  • Permaculture


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