Designing cropping systems from nature

Malézieux Eric. 2012. Designing cropping systems from nature. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 32 (1) : pp. 15-29.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : AGRONOMY

Abstract : Despite huge gains in productivity, environmental impacts of industrial agriculture based on a few high-yielding crop cultivars and the massive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides have led to a search for new pathways leading to more sustainable agriculture in both temperate and tropical regions. New strategies incorporating ecological knowledge gained from the observation of natural ecosystems is an alternative to design "ecologically intensive" agroecosystems. Such systems are indeed both ecological and productive. Designing ecologically intensive agroecosystems calls for indepth knowledge of biological regulations in ecosystems, and for the integration of traditional agricultural knowledge held by local farmers. This article reviews the main initiatives underlying ecologically intensive agroecosystems, analyses basic concepts, and proposes a framework for action. The rainforest model, the dry forest model, and the American Prairie are exemplified as three main natural systems at the basis of the mimicry concept. The link between biodiversity and the mimicry hypotheses, and the use of the concepts of productivity, efficiency, stability, and resilience for agroecosystems are discussed. Six main principles for cropping system design based on natural ecosystem mimicry are identified. A three-step framework for action is proposed, including nature observation, experimental design, and participatory design. Although far from being a panacea, the mimicry approach can provide new ways for agroecosystem design both in temperate and tropical countries. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Agroécosystème, Intensification, Système de culture, Prairie naturelle, Forêt tropicale humide, Forêt, Biodiversité, Agriculture durable, agriculture alternative, Fertilité du sol, agrobiodiversité, Contrôle de maladies, Modèle, Zone tropicale, Zone tempérée

Mots-clés complémentaires : Forêt tropicale sèche

Classification Agris : F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
K01 - Forestry - General aspects

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2005-2013) - Intensification écologique

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