Ecosystem services and the resilience of agricultural landscapes

Elena M. Bennett, Julia Baird, Helen Baulch, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Evan Fraser, Phil Loring, Peter Morrison, Lael Parrott, Kate Sherren, Klara J. Winkler, Jérôme Cimon-Morin, Marie Josée Fortin, Barret L. Kurylyk, Jeremy Lundholm, Monique Poulin, Jesse T. Rieb, Andrew Gonzalez, Gordon M. Hickey, Murray Humphries, Krishna Bahadur KCDavid Lapen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Global social and economic changes, alongside climate change, are affecting the operating environment for agriculture, leading to efforts to increase production and yields, typically through the use of agrochemicals like pesticides and fertilizers, expanded irrigation, and changes in seed varieties. Intensification, alongside the expansion of agriculture into new areas, has increased harvest, but has also had numerous well-known impacts on the environment, ultimately resulting in a loss of resilience and lack of sustainability in agro-ecosystems. Combined with features of agricultural systems such as the differential movement of ecosystem services, and interactions among ecosystem services driven in part by management choices, such intensification has disrupted key feedbacks in agricultural systems. These changes have tended to perpetuate the management choices that have led to efficient, productive agriculture, often at the expense of nature and the provision of important nonfood ecosystem services. Here, we explore how agriculture functions as a complex adaptive system. We assess how recent changes have interacted with agro-ecosystem features to result in a loss of resilience, and suggest key research directions to help harmonize production and ecosystem function, drawing primarily on Canadian examples. Enhancing the resilience of agricultural landscapes is critical to the long-term sustainability of agriculture in a rapidly changing world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Ecological Research
EditorsDavid A. Bohan, Adam J. Vanbergen
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Pages1-43
Number of pages43
ISBN (Print)9780128229798
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Ecological Research
Volume64
ISSN (Print)0065-2504

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the many NSERC ResNet collaborators and partners with whom we had discussions that led to the ideas presented here. EMB also thanks her lab group and the Resilience Alliance, whose thoughtfulness about agriculture and ecosystem services have pushed her to think about resilience, agriculture, and ecosystem services in new ways. This is an NSERC ResNet publication. We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), [funding reference number NSERC NETGP 523374-18]. Cette recherche a été financée par le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG), [numéro de référence NSERC NETGP 523374-18].

Funding Information:
We thank the many NSERC ResNet collaborators and partners with whom we had discussions that led to the ideas presented here. EMB also thanks her lab group and the Resilience Alliance, whose thoughtfulness about agriculture and ecosystem services have pushed her to think about resilience, agriculture, and ecosystem services in new ways. This is an NSERC ResNet publication. We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), [funding reference number NSERC NETGP 523374-18]. Cette recherche a ?t? financ?e par le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en g?nie du Canada (CRSNG), [num?ro de r?f?rence NSERC NETGP 523374-18].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Canadian landscapes
  • Ecosystem services
  • Production systems
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • Working landscapes

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