Land degradation is a big issue in agro ecosystems in developing, transition economy and developed countries. This problem negatively affects agriculture productivity and production in rural areas of all countries where most people depend on agricultural activities for their survival. Therefore it impacts food security, poverty, livelihood and wellbeing of rural populations. Factors such as poverty, population growth or pressure, climate change, human activities (intensification of agriculture, industrialization and urbanization), poor awareness and lack of institutions and poor governance (poor policies and management) are causing and increasing land degradation and its negatives consequences on agro ecosystems functions and services. Some of these causes are also initiated and increased by land degradation (vicious circle). This emphasizes the needs to identifying and understanding the root cause of land degradation, consequences and response in order to develop better mechanisms of eradicating or mitigating the unwanted effects.
Agricultural sustainability in ecosystems of mountain regions with natural restrictions are highly economically sustainable just in relation to the share of own capital in the total (1); strongly socially sustainable for the share of unoccupied permanent work positions in the total number of employed (0,93) and share of unoccupied seasonal work positions in the total number of employed (0,96); and highly ecologically sustainable according the dynamics of livestock number in last 5 years (0,84), degree of pollution of underground waters with nitrates (0,93) and protection of natural biodiversity (1) (Figure 6). At the same time, some economic indicators of sustainability in these ecosystems are on satisfying level, as: profit/ production costs (0,45), labour productivity (0,48), sales’ growth in last 3 years (0,29), and investments’ growth in last 5 years (0,43). Similarly, the social sustainability of this ecosystems’ type is satisfying regarding: payment of hired labour/ average income in the region (0,43), share of employed with special agricultural education/ qualification (0,38), degree of participation of women in the farm management (0,29) and number of participations in professional organizations and initiatives (0,43). The level of social sustainability in such regions is unsatisfying for presence of family member, ready to take the farm (0,14), manager’s age (0,19), participation in training programs in last 3 years (0,14) and participation in local initiatives (0,14). In relation to the share of hired workers, members of trade unions and public position of manager, farmer and owner, the mountain regions with natural restrictions are socially unsustainable. In these regions some indicators for ecological sustainability have satisfying levels, as the compliance to norms of the nitrate fertilization (0,32), share of arable land in the total agricultural land (0,4), level of fuel consumption (0,49) and number of cultural species (0,4). The ecological sustainability is unsatisfying for the compliance to the norms of potassium fertilization (0,11), compliance to norms of phosphorus fertilization (0,11) and presence of protected species on the farm territory (0,14), while for the principles of organic production implementation, they are unsustainable.
38 Read more
This study was conducted in three villages, located 8– 17 km apart, in the Sibu Sire district in East Wollega Zone, western Ethiopia (Figure 1). The area has typ- ically two rainy seasons: a long rainy season from June to September, with the peak rainfall in July and August, and a short rainy season from April to May. Of the popu- lation in this region, 87% (approximately 16,470 house- holds with an average of six persons per household) are rural inhabitants, farming on average 1 ha of land per household. The vast majority of these households rely on subsistence agriculture for food and income (Ebba, 2008). The average yearly income from agricul- tural production in this region in 2005 was 5,120 Birr (ca. US$270) per household (Ebba, 2008). The three villages in this study are situated directly within the agro-ecological landscape and the vast majority (>90%) of the population of each village lives in households engaged in subsistence agriculture of mixed crop and livestock farming systems. The houses are closely surrounded by animal enclosures and agricultural fields (Figure 1C,D,E). Long lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) are distrib- uted periodically free of charge to households in the three villages and there are on average 2 LLINs per household (Sibu Sire Health Centre). As part of an anti-malaria campaign, every household is subjected to indoor re- sidual spraying (IRS) once a year immediately after the peak of the long rains in July or August.
11 Read more
area, farmers use temporary made water canals to irri- gate their rice fields, these are constructed each season based on how the paddies are needed. Mkindo village adopted a formal irrigation scheme system using well- constructed canals. There is a main canal fed from the river (set by gravity) and local farmers are connected to irrigate their farms. The communities in savan- nah agro-ecosystem cultivates rice and maize, in addi- tion, they are involved in livestock keeping. Dakawa village is characterised by large-scale rice farms with well-maintained water scheme. The main season for rice cultivation starts from late November to February (preparations and planting) to May–July (harvesting) and the off-season runs from June through December. Most farmers cultivate during the main season with a few doing both seasons [13, 33]. The village authori- ties identified areas for cultivations where community members either buy and own the land or hire from the authorities on annual basis. The average farm size varies with the type of cropping system, hence varies from village to village and range from 2 to 3 ha. Farm- ers reported to walk a range of 1–3 h to their farms. Information on amount of permanent water bod- ies observed, type of vegetation and farming systems was used to categorize the villages into levels of water shaded areas. The list of villages in a decreasing order of water-shaded area is Komtonga, Mkindo, Mbogo (high level); Dihombo, Luhindo, Dakawa (medium to
14 Read more
This study about the impact of credit and productivity improvement was aimed to discover the changes in farm household production, income and expenditure in dryland and wetland agro ecosystem zones. The study was conducted in Kupang Regency and Timor Tengah Selatan (TTS) Regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province, Indonesia. This province was chosen because it is one of the poorer provinces in Indonesia. Data were collected using the structured interview technique from 178 farm households; 128 households in the dryland zone and 50 households in the wetland zone. The data were analyzed using econometric analysis, the simultaneous equation system with the 2-SLS method (two stage least squares), validated, and simulation using the Newton method, and Simnlin procedure. The results of the analysis showed that if only given agricultural credit, the impact of increased production, income and welfare is only seen in farm households in the wetland zone. Agricultural credit policies followed by increased production input through improvements in technology would have a positive effect both on farm households in the dryland and in the wetland zone.
Across locations, the F ratio of the fixed effects (L, M, MxL) was statistically sig- nificant. The mean yield of genotypes for the crop management practices (M), CT and ZT, was different (results are not presented here) and these results are in agreement with our previous findings        . The significant MxL suggests a variable response of genotype yield to the increased intensity of tillage practices across the test locations. Except for GxY and MxY, estimates of the random effects were significant (Table 1). Similar results were reported in the study by     . The estimates of random effects varied from 0.17% - 24% of the total variance. The large estimates of Y and YxL suggest that the agro-ecological conditions of the test locations were extremely different and accounted for most of the yield variation. Variations in meteoro- logical data across locations confirm the diversity found in agro-ecological con- ditions of the test locations (Supplemental Figure S1 and Supplemental Figure S2). The small contribution of G in the total variance estimate is due to the fact that genotypes evaluated in this study were advanced breeding lines, elite culti- vars or high yielding genotypes. These findings are confirmed with the common parents and number of selfing (inbreeding) found in their pedigree (Supplemental Table S1). The significant variance components for GxM, GxMxL and GxMxLxY led to a different ranking of genotypes across environments under CT and ZT, justifying the development of a stable genotype that performs well over envi- ronments in different management practices. The ideal genotype should have a high mean and high stability.
36 Read more
The two perspectives taken to build agro-ecosystems present challenges requiring rethinking. The “modernizing smallholder farmers” is proving to be economically and socially challenging. As noted, only a small minority of farmers access modern inputs. Even those that access the inputs they do not get enough to produce to the potential. The result is that the Governments is stuck in ways to source enough inputs for the unlimited demand. Some circles even propose to stop subsidizing agricultural inputs for the poor. On the other hand the “making smallholder farmers go local” is unpopular as evidenced by low adoption levels. Obviously, the actors in agricultural productivity narrative are caught up between cost and poor attractiveness of the agricultural inputs and they have reached the end of thinking capacity (commonly known as etc). In this article we argue that a solution to challenges in agricultural productivity lies where little is known and researched, and extension and development practitioners have paid little attention, thus learning and understanding farmer practices. What one learns from these practices is that, instead of forcing the technology on the farmers, extension and research need to teach farmers the principles of various technologies for building agro-ecosystems. Once farmers learn about the principles they generate their own technologies that are relevant and appropriate for their socio-economic conditions.
While many examples underline the potential of agro-ecology to address food insecurity and biodiversity loss (Chappell and Lavalle, 2011), we question the claim of agro-ecology being “the new agricultural development paradigm” for being somewhat ideological. After all, the complex nature of diversified agro- ecosystems renders them more labor-intensive compared to mechanized cultivation in monocultures, even after the initially high labor demand is reduced due to self-regulation, and despite the manifold higher resource use efficiencies (energy, water, inputs, etc.). In developed countries, particularly the ones with vast acreage and relatively few people employed in agriculture (e.g., the US), it is increasingly challenging to engage many people for manual labor due to the related costs. Hence we argue that the feasibility of agro-ecology on larger scales in developed countries is yet to be proven. Overcoming this limitation (e.g., through adapted mechanization) remains a challenge for future research. In developing countries, however, the potential of agro- ecology seems to be relatively greater, because (i) currently there is no shortage of cheap manual labor, (ii) mechanization is largely lacking, and (iii) large acreages that necessarily demand mechanization are rare.
10 Read more
Entomopathogenic fungi are encountered in all the agro ecosystems and found associated with a wide array of host insects. Almost all the insect orders are susceptible to fungal infections  and these fungi have a broad spectrum of hosts. A study on the diversity of entomopathogenic fungi among the coleopteran pests of Banana, Coconut, Cardamom, Sweet Potato and Vegetables was carried out to assess the natural occurrence of these biocontrol agents in different agro ecosystems.
This leaves a few gaps especially between stages of weedy rice development. Manipulation of this life cycle can quantify the outcome of various strategies in the weedy rice management strategies by concentrating on reducing; 1) weedy rice seedling survival; 2) weedy rice vegetative survival; 3) weedy rice seed rain; and 4) seed contamination through seed import (Azmi and Karim, 2008, Baki, 2010). The challenge is to add more controls to fill the gaps which can become the potential for weedy rice escape to the rice agro-ecosystem (Figure 2). For ‘Control Gap 1’, inter-farm weedy rice cross contamination needs to be reduced by imposing intensive regulatory measures to the rice growers in Malaysia. The movement of machineries (e.g. plowers, harvesters) from one field to another need to be limited or thoroughly cleaned from any weed seeds. This can reduce the spread of weedy rice seeds especially when the harvester moves from highly infested field. The use of certified seeds by farmers need to be strictly regulated considering the major entry point of weedy rice is by contaminated seeds. Re-use of seeds from previous season and sharing seeds need to be prohibited. The government or any authorities need to find a way to impose of using only certified seeds by a competent body/s to reduce the possibility of seed contamination.
19 Read more
Here we present a bibliography associated with DNDC model as an example. Papers were identiﬁed by searching for the term ‘⁄DNDC⁄’ in the ‘Web of Knowledge’ and ‘Scopus’ search engines. A total of 248 papers were identiﬁed. All these papers are catego- rized according to the classiﬁcation system presented above. The papers collectively provide trends in DNDC model development and application. As shown in Fig. 3a, the majority of research papers published have used the original DNDC model version. DNDC was initially developed in the USA, it has been used and tested extensively in Asia (Fig. 3b), followed by Europe and North America. DNDC has been applied in many land uses, but the major- ity of applications have been in croplands, followed by agricultural grasslands and paddy ﬁelds (Fig. 3c). DNDC has primarily been used for GHG quantiﬁcation and soil C and N dynamics, as shown in Fig. 3d. Sixty eight percent of literature focused on quantiﬁcation of environment ﬂuxes under present-day land management prac- tices, such as fertiliser inputs, livestock grazing regime and crop rotations – at ﬁeld, farm or landscape scale. Only 15% studies focused on quantiﬁcation of the impact of changing climatic rain- fall and temperatures on different ecosystems (Table 1).
10 Read more
intrapreneurial ideas and opportunities supported through the divisional structure implemented by the senior leadership team. As a business, it commits at least 12% of its revenue to R&D activities and the pursuit of innovative projects which totalled 169.1m PLN ($42.6m) in 2016. What is interesting is the extent to which the company is deliberately disconnected from the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Małopolska despite having clear entrepreneurial proclivities in the organisation itself. In our focus groups, it was noted that the company did not feel comfortable with the idea of an ecosystem and would not actively encourage an environment in which entrepreneurs would connect with large business, or where the company would look to support this pathway. This view was based on feeling that a focus on direct participation and collaboration with SMEs and entrepreneurs would detract from their core business approach. This is in direct contrast to the regional government who were heavily focused on connecting large regional businesses to SMEs and entrepreneur owner-managers. Regional officials also noted that there were clear mismatches between the regional policy approach to attract larger firms and flagship MNEs as part of an integrated and holistic ecosystem and a sentiment that these larger companies would also potentially ‘suck innovation out of lower levels’ according to one regional government official. These contradictions and mismatches further undermine the attempt to build a cohesive system of entrepreneurial activity.
28 Read more
human exposure to antimicrobial resistance in agro- environments which may result in a wider health issue. Ulti- mately, we know very little about the human health risks of consuming wastewater irrigated produce over the long-term. However, pharmaceuticals are arguably one of the most data rich groups of chemicals in terms of mammalian toxicology. There is a wealth of data on pharmaceutical therapeutic eﬀects and occupational exposure limits and we need to exploit this, together with chemical read-across, to derive chemical speci c ADIs, to better understand the human health risks of ingesting crops contaminated with pharmaceuticals. In addition to the consumption of contaminated crops, people are at risk of ingesting meat, sh, wildlife and drinking water contaminated with contaminants of emerging concern (Fig. 1; pathways 12, 16 and 24), however human exposure from multiple contam- inated sources such as this is rarely considered in risk assessment paradigms. Future research to evaluate the risks of ingesting pharmaceutical contaminated produce can utilise previously published approaches to assess the risks of dietary exposure (e.g. for pesticides) and incorporate dietary infor- mation and food sourcing information to generate an accurate assessment of pharmaceutical exposure.
19 Read more
At the micro level, classification of farmers might be of practical use for localized technological solutions and extension support. During the height of farming system research and extension paradigm, conceptualization of recommendation domain wanted to address this issue. A recommendation domain is a group of farmers whose circumstances are similar enough that they are eligible for the same recommendation (Harrington and Trip 1984). This led to informed decisions in part of technology managers and higher rate of technology integration in smallholder systems. Classification of farming situation by the farmers has also been suggested by some authors (Conroy and Sutherland 2004; Goswami et al. 2012). However, these were more project-based and were hardly mainstreamed in the national research and extension systems in the developing countries (Frankenberger et al. 1989), India being no exception. Participatory research is not mainstreamed in National Agricultural Research System in India and state-owned monolithic extension system is not prepared to deal with the need of small farms in diverse ecosystems (Glendenning et al. 2010). This leads to poor adoption of technology and large yield gap (Aggarwal et al. 2008). Extension support and policy intervention also suffers due to lack of informed decision by public extension. Although there has been experimentation with reorganized and decentralized systems of technology assessment and refinement and revitalized public extension systems, development of sound analytical tools for targeting extension has remained undermined till date. A sound methodology for profiling farm typologies will help in rapid transfer of appropriate technology, precise extension support and development of policy environment sensitive to immense diversity of smallholder farms in coastal saline India.
24 Read more
Eventually, the distribution of overall (agrarian, environmental etc.) activities between different farms, organizations, and markets would be determined by the comparative costs for using various governing arrangements as the most efficient one(s) will tend to prevail . However, a high efficiency and sustainability of the different governing forms (farms, business organizations, collective actions, and public forms) does not always mean a high efficiency and sustainability of the development. As North and Williamson have proved, the history of institutional development is full of examples of “failures” while the (business) organization modernization is usually a success story [16, 17]. Furthermore, the high sustainability of (inefficient) public forms is a result of the high transaction costs for their reformation (political decision-making and bargaining, strong vested interests of powerful groups) and/or the “inefficiency by design” making that transformation complicated . Therefore, the third step of the analyses is to identify practically possible (existing and other feasible) alternatives for governance for the specific conditions of each eco-system and its services. The available (alternative) management modes are to be assessed in terms of absolute and comparative potential (limits) of protect eco-rights and investments of agents, assure socially desirable level of agro-ecosystem services, minimize overall costs, coordinate and stimulate eco-activities, reconcile conflicts, recover long-term costs for organizational development etc. in the specific economic, institutional and natural environment.
22 Read more
Abstract— Avocado, Persea americana Mill, plays a central role in distribution of both beneficial and detrimental arthropods thereby influencing local species diversity in agro-ecosystems adjacent to Afromontane forests at Mount Kilimanjaro in North-eastern Tanzania and Taita Hills in South-eastern Kenya. However, little is known about arthropod species that inhabit avocado trees in the two study areas despite the fact that the crop forms the major part of agro-ecosystem in the East African highlands. A novel survey was, therefore, carried out for two years between August 2012 and July 2014 to establish arthropod species in avocado orchards along South-eastern slopes of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Taita Hills. A total of sixty one species of arthropods were recorded from the avocado crop through fruit observation and canopy sampling. The present arthropod checklist provides baseline knowledge for scientists in evaluating beneficial and pest status of each species inhabiting avocado plant in the East African agro-ecosystems.
The S–P–R diagram, consisting of 34 compartments (A–K), represents the diﬀerent pathways in which agro-ecosystems are exposed to pharmaceuticals receiving wastewater irrigation (Fig. 1). The primary source of pharmaceuticals is reclaimed wastewater used as a source of irrigation (A; Fig. 1) according to agricultural water management systems (B; Fig. 1). This results in the contamination of a number of environmental compart- ments identied as the soil, surface water and groundwater (C, D and F; Fig. 1). A range of receptors can then be exposed to pharmaceuticals in these compartments through a variety of direct and indirect pathways. The main receptors identied include terrestrial wildlife, people, livestock, terrestrial plants, soil fauna and aquatic species (F–K; Fig. 1), with a number of receptors themselves identied as potential routes (secondary sources) of exposure for pharmaceutical contamination via food web transfer to higher vertebrates in the food chain (e.g. sh as a source of food for birds). Whilst this analysis considers the use of reclaimed wastewater as the route for pharmaceuticals to enter agroecosystems, the use of organic soil amendments (sludges and/or livestock manures) are also signicant path- ways by which pharmaceuticals can enter, and become omni- present, in soils. 25,26 A number of associated risks and
18 Read more
greater than that of bacteria in the abandoned agricultural field subjected to natural succession even though soil pH was similar for the two ecosystems. This suggests that factors other than soil pH also played an important role in controlling the relative abundance and activity of fungi. It is generally believed that agricultural management practices favor bacterial over fungal portions of a microbial community. Thus, microbial community is expected to shift toward a higher proportion of fungi in the abandoned agricultural field subjected to natural succession (Ohtonen et al., 1999; van der Wal et al., 2006). However, fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio was similar following the transition of agricultural land to natural grassland/forest (Hedlund, 2002). Certainly, natural succession can alter microbial diversity and composition of abandoned agricultural field at the species and genus level and therefore affect soil processes mediated by microbes with highly-specialized metabolisms (e.g., CH 4 oxidation) (Hedlund, 2002; Knief et al., 2005; Levine et al., 2011). However, such
163 Read more
To support adaptation and mitigation efforts for climate change and environmental degradation, Mediterranean-wide assessments of the state of agriculture and the likely con- sequences of global change are required. These would have to be complemented by analyses of the potential develop- ments and future difficulties of the agricultural sector and its interactions with the environment. The large-scale character of such assessments and the necessity of looking into possi- ble future scenarios require the utilisation of modelling tools that cover the essential characteristics of the dominant agro- ecosystems in the region. At present, no suitable modelling framework for this task exists. Given the range of conditions in the region, such a tool should be process-based and in- tegrate the major crop types, grasslands and natural vegeta- tion, taking into account the carbon cycle and hydrology of them. Notably, the presence of perennial, woody species is a characteristic of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems, and they deliver 45 % of agricultural outputs (Lobianco and Esposti, 2006). Existing crop models have implemented some tree crops, and in some cases applications in Mediterranean envi- ronments (mostly small scale) were published. For example, the STICS crop model has been used to simulate the growth of vineyards and apple trees (García de Cortázar-Atauri, 2006; Nesme et al., 2006; Valdés-Gómez et al., 2009); and in the CropSyst model, pears, apples, vineyards and peaches are included (Marsal et al., 2013, 2014; Marsal and Stöckle, 2012). Other modelling frameworks offer general and spe- cific formulations for horticultural systems that have been applied in other regions, mainly in Anglo-Saxon countries. This is the case for the EPIC/SWAT/SWIM families (Neitsch et al., 2004; Gerik et al., 2014) for cotton and apple, and for the APSIM model for cotton and vineyards (Holzworth et al., 2014). In California, another region with a Mediterranean climate, there is a dynamic modelling community assess- ing climate change impacts on horticulture by process-based (Gutiérrez et al., 2006) and empirical models (Lobell et al., 2007). At the global scale, the GAEZ approach offers poten- tial growing areas for citrus, olives and cotton (IIASA/FAO, 2012). The GCWM model is probably the most complete
17 Read more
environmental consequences, including biodiversity losing, land degradation and climate degradation. It is responsible for about a third of the increase of the rate of atmospheric carbon . International concern about GHG and their impact on global warming and consequently climate change were used to study the potential of plants in the carbon sequestration process. Human, being conscious of their negative action on climate has developed many measures of adaptation against the phenomenon; in Africa, the surrounding peoples of forests used to collecting Non-Timber Forest Products for feeding and commercialization during dry seasons. Several measures are known as individual responses of populations in connection with climate change. These measures were assigned as an autonomous adaptation. In that way, if people of forestry regions could develop adaptation measures against climate change, they could also fight against the phenomenon by developing attenuation measures such as reforestation and conservation. One of a best attenuation measure known in Africa is agro- ecosystems that can be identified as carbon wells. In consequence, cocoa plantations are the most common agro-ecosystems known in Africa, particularly in Cameroon. Cocoa, the main cash crop, is practiced in association with fruit, medicinal herbs, and various species. These species are deliberately protected or planted in cocoa for feeding or for their economic value, and then to provide shade when necessary [10-13].