Agroecosystems

The educational materials listed on this page are about Agroecosystems.

What is agroecology? An agroecosystem is any ecosystem managed primarily for the production of food, fuel or fiber. Agroecology is the study of agricultural ecosystems and the natural resources required to sustain them. Ecological farming requires producers to work within their environmental limitations and use technology to address ecosystem constraints, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Agroecological management enhances the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems by trying to work with the ecological relationships and processes within the broader ecosystem. Agroecology promotes the conservation of soil and organic matter, as well as other resources such as energy and water. Agroecosystems reflect diversity in the landscape, through crop/livestock integration and in marketing. They also seek to strengthen farmers and their communities by developing local agricultural knowledge and building ties among farmers and their consumers.

Key practices include the use of cover cropscrop rotationreduced tillagebuffer stripsrotational grazingseed saving and planting heirloom crops, and pasture and rangeland management

SARE's Systems Research for Agriculture provides helpful tips for farmers or researchers interested in agroecology research. SARE agroecology books such as Building Soils for Better CropsCrop Rotation on Organic Farms and Managing Cover Crops Profitably can help producers put agroecology in action. Rangeland Management Strategies features guidance on improving range for grazing. The SARE book Manage Insects on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies describes how to control insect pests using a systems-level, agroecological approach.   

Showing 1-4 of 4 results

Edible Landscaping with Matthew Lebon

NCAT Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames talks with Matthew Lebon about edible landscaping or the practice of integrating edible plants into ornamental landscaping

Pioneer Agroforestry Farm Tour Video Series

A new video series on Midwest agroforestry is available from the Savanna Institute and North Central SARE. The six-part Pioneer Agroforestry Farm Tour Video Series features brief, detailed interviews with farmers who are advancing agroforestry in the Midwest.