A conceptual model of agroecosystem function as a basis for synthesis

TitleA conceptual model of agroecosystem function as a basis for synthesis
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBestelmeyer B, Spiegal S, Strickland T, Swain H, Boughton EH
Conference NameAgronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Date Published10/2017
PublisherAgronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Conference LocationTampa, Florida
ARIS Log Number345318
Abstract

A primary challenge for LTAR is to organize information about sustainable agricultural intensification such that it can be synthesized across multiple research programs addressing disparate problems. Such synthesis facilitates not only regional to national-scale generalizations to inform the public and policy, but also provides a platform for agricultural researchers to collaborate, learn from one another’s research traditions and tools, and identify previously unrecognized research needs. In this talk, we describe a conceptual model of agroecosystem function that identifies fundamental interactions between agriculture, environment, and society. The model focuses on agricultural producers and their decisions in selecting a production system. Feedback loops mediated by environmental effects, economics, societal factors, and policies can reinforce the status quo or prompt producers to adopt an alternative production system. External shocks (drivers and perturbations that are unaffected by feedbacks) can also tip the system into alternative production states. The model was used effectively as a basis for organizing interactions within production systems into questions and predictions. These questions served as the basis for an LTAR-wide survey and synthesis described in a companion talk.