Agroecology : The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Third Edition book cover
3rd Edition

The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Third Edition

ISBN 9781439895610
Published December 9, 2014 by CRC Press
406 Pages 219 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Agroecology is a science, a productive practice, and part of a social movement that is at the forefront of transforming food systems to sustainability. Building upon the ecological foundation of the agroecosystem, Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Third Edition provides the essential foundation for understanding sustainability in all of its components: agricultural, ecological, economic, social, cultural, and even political. It presents a case for food system change and why the current industrial model of food production and distribution is not sustainable.

New in the Third Edition:

  • Chapters on animal production and social change in food systems
  • Updated case studies, references, websites, and new research
  • Emphasis on how climate change impacts agriculture
  • Greater focus on health issues related to food

The book begins with a focus on the key ecological factors and resources that impact agricultural plants and animals as individual organisms. It then examines all of the components of agroecosystem complexity, from genetics to landscapes and explores the transition process for achieving sustainability and indicators of progress. The book then delves into power and control of food systems by agribusiness, and the need to develop a new paradigm that moves beyond production and explores issues of food justice, equity, food security and sovereignty. It concludes with a call to action so that research and education can link together for transformative change in our food systems.

  • Details concepts and includes examples of their application in real-world situations
  • Provides an essential ecological foundation for food system sustainability
  • Introduces five levels that can be used to promote the transition to sustainable food systems
  • Poses challenging questions as food for thought after each chapter, as well as websites for key organizations working in the areas covered in each chapter
  • Supplies a hopeful and achievable alternative to the present-day industrial model of food systems.
  • Groundbreaking in its first edition, respected in its second edition, this third edition of this standard textbook has evolved along with the field. Written by an expert with more than 40 years of experience, the book encourages us all to think about the critical importance of transitioning to a new paradigm for food and agriculture, and what this means for our future.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction to Agroecology
    Case for Fundamental Change in Agriculture
    Agroecology and the Agroecosystem Concept

    Plants and Abiotic Factors of the Environment
    The Plant
    Humidity and Rainfall
    Water in the Soil

    A More Complete Autecological Perspective
    Biotic Factors
    The Environmental Complex
    Heterotrophic Organisms

    System-Level Interactions
    Population Ecology of Agroecosystems
    Genetic Resources in Agroecosystems
    Species Interactions in Crop Communities
    Agroecosystem Diversity
    Disturbance, Succession, and Agroecosystem Management
    Animals in Agroecosystems
    Energetics of Agroecosystems
    Landscape Diversity

    The Transition to Sustainability
    Converting to Ecologically Based Management
    Indicators of Sustainability

    Bringing about a Sustainable World Food System
    Agriculture, Society, and Agroecology
    Community and Culture in the Remaking of the Food System
    From Sustainable Agroecosystems to a Sustainable Food System

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    "Agroecology may be an unfamiliar concept to some, since our culture often treats agriculture and ecology as completely separate subjects, with common agricultural practices bearing no resemblance to the natural patterns that ecologists study. However, if one is not familiar with all of the factors that can affect food production, it can be hard to recognize adaptive responses to those factors. Fortunately, this textbook provides an excellent broad introduction to the subject. The book is well-written and contains many helpful figures and tables. Since the book is quite affordable, for a large volume from CRC Press, it is also ideal for individual reading by any ethnobotanist who could use a refresher course on the basics of ecology or sustainable agriculture."
    —Wendy L. Applequist, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, in Economic Botany

    Praise for the Second Edition:

    "It is clear, insightful, well-illustrated and referenced, and the 21 chapters contain many useful case studies. It deserves to be in every library, and is a pleasure to read. This is a valuable manual, and vital for all concerned with learning and teaching in agricultural courses. It deserves to be widely used."
    —Jules Pretty OBE, Experimental Agriculture, Vol. 43 (4),2007

    "The author clearly is an authority in the field of agro-ecology and teaches on the subject. ... Agronomists and biologists, as well as general scholars and people interested by sustainability as an attitude or life style wi11learn about how to put principles into (cropping and whole food chain) practice. All in all: a good read!"
    —Patrick Van Damme, University of Gent, Economic Botany, 63 (4),2009