Time for a shift in crop production: embracing complexity through diversity at all levels

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2009

  • Author: Østergård, Hanne

    Bioenergy and Biomass, Biosystems Division, Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark

  • Author: Finckh, M.R.

    University of Kassel (DE), Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences

  • Author: Fontaine, Laurence

    Institut Technique de l'Agriculture Biologique (FR)

  • Author: Goldringer, Isabelle

    Université Paris-Sud

  • Author: Hoad, Steve P.

    Scottish Agricultural College (GB)

  • Author: Kristensen, Kristian

    Aarhus University

  • Author: van Bueren, Edith T. Lammerts

    Wageningen University

  • Author: Mascher, Fabio

    Agroscope

  • Author: Munk, Lisa

    University of Copenhagen

  • Author: Wolfe, Martin S.

    The Organic Research Centre

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A radical shift in our approach to crop production is needed to ensure food security and to address the problems of soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, polluted and restricted water supplies, coupled with a future of fossil fuel limitations and increasingly variable climatic conditions. An interdisciplinary network of European scientists put forward visions for future crop production embracing the complexity of our socio-ecological system by applying the principle of diversity at all levels from soil micro-organisms to plant varieties and cropping systems. This approach, integrated with careful deployment of our finite global resources and implementation of appropriate sustainable technology, appears to be the only way to ensure the scale of system resilience needed to cope with many of our concerns. We discuss some of the most important tools such as (i) building soil fertility by recycling of nutrients and sustainable use of other natural and physical resources, (ii) enhancing biological diversity by breeding of crops resilient to climate change and (iii) reconnecting all stakeholders in crop production. Finally, we emphasise some of the changes in agricultural and environmental regulation and policy needed in order to implement the visions. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication date2009
Volume89
Issue9
Pages1439-1445
ISSN0022-5142
DOIs
StatePublished
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 19

Keywords

  • Bio energy, Ecosystems, climate effects, greenhouse gasses
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