1st Edition

Ecological Complexity and Agroecology

By John Vandermeer, Ivette Perfecto Copyright 2018
    272 Pages 159 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 159 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This text reflects the immense current growth in interest in agroecology and changing approaches to it. While it is acknowledged that the science of ecology should be the basis of agroecological planning, many analysts have out-of-date ideas about contemporary ecology. Ecology has come a long way since the old days of "the balance of nature" and other romantic notions of how ecological systems function. In this context, the new science of complexity has become extremely important in the modern science of ecology. The problem is that it tends to be too mathematical and technical and thus off-putting for the average student of agroecology, especially those new to the subject. Therefore this book seeks to present ideas about ecological complexity with a minimum of formal mathematics.

    The book’s organization consists of an introductory chapter, and a second chapter providing some of the background to basic ecological topics as they are relevant to agroecosystrems (e.g., soil biology and pest control). The core of the book consists of seven chapters on key intersecting themes of ecological complexity, including issues such as spatial patterns, network theory and tipping points, illustrated by examples from agroecology and agricultural systems from around the world.

    Chapter 1 - Indroduction

    Chapter 2 - Basic ecological concepts

    Chapter 3 - The Turing Mechanism and geometric pattern

    Chapter 4 – Chaos

    Chapter 5 – Stochasticity

    Chapter 6 - Coupled oscillators

    Chapter 7 - Multidimensionality

    Chapter 8 - Trait-mediated indirect interactions

    Chapter 9 – Critical transitions

    Chapter 10 – The "scientific" basis of agroecology


    John Vandermeer is Asa Gray Distinguished University Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, USA.

    Ivette Perfecto is George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, USA.