Agroecology: From nature inclusive to nature-driven agriculture and food production

Activity: Talk and presentationInaugural lecture Popular


Is it possible to feed a growing world population with safe and nutritious, quality food while meeting environmental standards, mitigating climate change, curtailing rural unemployment and outmigration, and bending the curve of biodiversity loss? This is one of the most actual questions of our time. The proliferation of conventional high-external input farming has pushed the Earth system beyond safe Planetary Boundaries, particularly beyond its capacity to absorb the impacts of excess phosphorus and nitrogen and of biodiversity loss. Today’s agriculture occupies 38% of global land, represents 69% of global water withdrawal, and uses 30% of the world’s energy every year. Biodiversity is being lost due to loss of natural habitats and associated soil degradation, depletion and pollution of natural resources, its substantial contribution to climate change and the erosion of culture and heritage. Yet, agricultural and food system outputs are expected to increase in the future to meet the demands of a growing - and increasingly urban, increasingly affluent, yet increasingly malnourished - world population.

According to Professor Tittonell agroecology, or the harnessing of biodiversity-driven ecosystem functions to support agriculture and food production, in a context of social inclusiveness and distributive justice, offers ample opportunities to address these challenges. This is demonstrated by a myriad of examples the world over, from single farm to national scales. Yet more knowledge and technologies are needed to make efficient and effective use of the natural functionalities that ecosystems offer, while preserving their integrity.

This inaugural lecture will dive into the main questions that face agroecology, and propose lines of research and action that aim to influence policies and practice, away from palliative solutions around nature inclusive farming, to truly nature-driven agriculture and food production systems.
Held atConservation Ecology Group
Degree of RecognitionLocal